Watch This Space

On 20 July 2018, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst welcomed the legendary electronic band Kraftwerk and 7500 visitors to the Jazz Open Festival on Stuttgart’s Schlossplatz – live from the International Space Station, where he will live and work until mid-December 2018.

Watch them perform live. In real-time. In direct line. With space.

Alexander Gerst: […”The ISS is a Man-Machine. The most complex and valuable machine humankind has ever built. Here, in the European Columbus Laboratory, the successor to the Spacelab, the European Space Agency (ESA) is researching things that will improve the daily life on Earth. More than a 100 different nations work together peacefully here and achieve things that a single nation could never achieve”…]

∞ °•° 

Paired with the reflective, illusionary, upside down, spacey architecture by Samara Golden.

The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, 2017 was a site-specific installation using insulation foamboard, extruded polystryrene, epoxy resin, carpet, vinyl, fabric, acrylic paint, spray paint, nail polish, plastic, altered found objects and mirror.

The 2017 Whitney Biennial

June 10th, 2017

The Art of the In-Between

1/KAYA (Kerstin Brätsch and Debo Eilers), founded 2010, installation view of SERENE, 2017

3/Kaari Upson (b. 1972), In Search of the Perfect Double II, 2016 (detail). Urethane, pigment and aluminium

4/Asad Raza (b. 1974), detail of Root sequence. Mother tongue, 2017

5/Elsie Driggs (1895–1992), Pittsburgh, 1927. Oil on canvas

8/Richmond Barthé (1901–1989), African Dancer, 1933. Plaster

9/View (partial) of Larry Bell’s Pacific Red II, 2017 – also seen in previous post

The 2017 Whitney Biennial

June 10th, 2017

Red Velvet Fudge & Hot Pink Candy

In Greece, the expression “piase kokkino” (“touch red”) is said when two people say the same thing at the same time. It is believed that such an occurrence is an omen that the two will have an argument in the future, which can only be broken when the two touch the closest thing that is red.

Larry Bell
Born 1939 in Chicago, IL
Lives in Taos, NM, and Los Angeles, CA

Blending into the red candy palette of Larry Bell’s Pacific Red II, a work consisting of six laminated glass cubes installed in one of the Whitney’s terraces. Each box enclosed another, their multiple surfaces reflecting warm shades of red and pink light which – inevitably – made it an instant hit with photographers and other urban species of instagram.

PS: there were no arguments that day – or the next!

The 2017 Whitney Biennial

June 10th, 2017

High-protein diet

Pope.L aka William Pope.L
Born 1955 in Newark, NJ
Lives in Chicago, IL

For Claim (Whitney Version), Pope.L created a grid of 2,755 slices of bologna, each affixed with a black-and-white photocopied snapshot of a person. A text mounted within the work “claims” that the number of slices corresponds to a percentage of New York’s population of 1,086,000 Jewish residents.

Pope.L’s numbers are, in his words, “a bit off.” The total number of slices indicated is off by two, and several slices have been removed. Moreover, the so-called portraits “representing” Jews were made without regard for their subjects’ cultural identities. Pope.L has previously made multiple versions within this family of works, many focusing on Black subjects. Claim (Whitney Version) plays with our tendency to project ourselves onto numbers and stokes our awareness that such counting often lays the groundwork for systematic acts of discrimination. The anxiety provoked by the work’s calculated absurdity questions the power of “big data,” raising the specter of its use for nefarious ends—from controlling whose votes are valuable, to who can enter and leave the country freely.

Note (sticker on the bologna covered wall): The varied appearance of the gutters is the result of a miscommunication among Museum staff. Pope.L has requested that the mistake not be rectified because he believes that the ensuing condition is in keeping with the overall character of the work.

Paired with:

Jon Kessler
Born 1957 in Yonkers, NY
Lives in New York, NY

Jon Kessler makes what he calls “performative sculptures,” whose humor and kitsch belie their serious critique. The two works on view in the 2017 Biennial, Exodus and Evolution, are part of a larger in-process project, The Floating World, which addresses the social and environmental impacts of climate change. In Exodus, the series of eBay-sourced figurines that rotate around a screen in an endless march are evocative of mass migrations of people, whether from natural disasters or political situations such as the Syrian refugee crisis. Evolution focuses attention on rising sea levels; two figures in snorkel gear take pictures, apparently indifferent to or ignorant of any impending danger. 

The 2017 Whitney Biennial

June 10th, 2017

The grim brothers

Ajay Kurian (b. 1984), details of Childermass, 2017.
Plaster, sulfur, goldstone, steel, epoxy resin, polyurethane resin, custom clothing, screen printed T-shirt, sneakers, spray paint, LEDS and duct tape, dimensions variable.

Childermass, or ”The grim brothers” as I dubbed it because that was the first thing that came to mind, was an installation of haunting figures – children, animals, some of them merged into both, some not human at all, eerily hanging from floor to ceiling in the Whitney’s stairwell during the 2017 Biennial.

June 10th, 2017

 

See || Purr || Listen

Su-Mei Tse (b. 1973) in collaboration with Jean-Lou Majerus
Sound for Insomniacs, 2007

5 Lambda digital prints on semi-glossy photo paper, two stools with integrated MP3 players, screens, and headphones.

For Su-Mei Tse, photographs alone are not enough to capture a cat’s unique personality. Here she presents large close-ups of five different cats, each with an expressive presence similar to traditional painted portraits, along with recordings of each cat purring. 

Because every cat’s purr is unique but they all sooth, relax and may act as natural sleeping pills. Works for me, anytime!

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

May 4th, 2017

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Affectionately, MIT.

Where the art of uncovering the mysteries of physical sciences meets with the determination and positive energy of the bright young things of today, groomed to become some of the most distinguished scientists and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The MIT is not only infusing knowledge into the minds of students, it is educating game-changers. If the MIT were a car, it would have been a Tesla. In fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised had I’d seen one roaming about the premises. I was more taken aback by the monumental work by Sol LeWitt covering an entire corridor. Universities don’t get any cooler than this.

Sentences on Conceptual Art, by Sol Lewitt

  1. Conceptual artists are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.
  2. Rational judgements repeat rational judgements.
  3. Irrational judgements lead to new experience.
  4. Formal art is essentially rational.
  5. Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically.
  6. If the artist changes his mind midway through the execution of the piece he compromises the result and repeats past results.
  7. The artist’s will is secondary to the process he initiates from idea to completion. His wilfulness may only be ego.
  8. When words such as painting and sculpture are used, they connote a whole tradition and imply a consequent acceptance of this tradition, thus placing limitations on the artist who would be reluctant to make art that goes beyond the limitations.
  9. The concept and idea are different. The former implies a general direction while the latter is the component. Ideas implement the concept.
  10. Ideas can be works of art; they are in a chain of development that may eventually find some form. All ideas need not be made physical.
  11. Ideas do not necessarily proceed in logical order. They may set one off in unexpected directions, but an idea must necessarily be completed in the mind before the next one is formed.
  12. For each work of art that becomes physical there are many variations that do not.
  13. A work of art may be understood as a conductor from the artist’s mind to the viewer’s. But it may never reach the viewer, or it may never leave the artist’s mind.
  14. The words of one artist to another may induce an idea chain, if they share the same concept.
  15. Since no form is intrinsically superior to another, the artist may use any form, from an expression of words (written or spoken) to physical reality, equally.
  16. If words are used, and they proceed from ideas about art, then they are art and not literature; numbers are not mathematics.
  17. All ideas are art if they are concerned with art and fall within the conventions of art.
  18. One usually understands the art of the past by applying the convention of the present, thus misunderstanding the art of the past.
  19. The conventions of art are altered by works of art.
  20. Successful art changes our understanding of the conventions by altering our perceptions.
  21. Perception of ideas leads to new ideas.
  22. The artist cannot imagine his art, and cannot perceive it until it is complete.
  23. The artist may misperceive (understand it differently from the artist) a work of art but still be set off in his own chain of thought by that misconstrual.
  24. Perception is subjective.
  25. The artist may not necessarily understand his own art. His perception is neither better nor worse than that of others.
  26. An artist may perceive the art of others better than his own.
  27. The concept of a work of art may involve the matter of the piece or the process in which it is made.
  28. Once the idea of the piece is established in the artist’s mind and the final form is decided, the process is carried out blindly. There are many side effects that the artist cannot imagine. These may be used as ideas for new works.
  29. The process is mechanical and should not be tampered with. It should run its course.
  30. There are many elements involved in a work of art. The most important are the most obvious.
  31. If an artist uses the same form in a group of works, and changes the material, one would assume the artist’s concept involved the material.
  32. Banal ideas cannot be rescued by beautiful execution.
  33. It is difficult to bungle a good idea.
  34. When an artist learns his craft too well he makes slick art.
  35. These sentences comment on art, but are not art.

First published in 0-9 (New York), 1969, and Art-Language (England), May 1969


May 3rd, 2017