Contemporary Among Classics

Classic art was also contemporary once.

Ragnar Kjartansson: Scandinavian Pain & Other Myths was the Southwestern US premiere of work by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson (b. 1976), presented by the Phoenix Art Museum.

It consisted of three major works: the 40-foot long neon installation Scandinavian Pain, along with The End-Venice, Kjartansson’s contribution to the 2009 Venice Biennale during which he secluded himself in a fourteenth-century palazzo and produced one painting per day for six months (the entire duration of Venice Biennale). Each painting depicts his friend and fellow artist Páll Haukur Björnsson, in a Speedo.


Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons
Dress and shoes from the S/S 2018 collection

Art on Dress: Giuseppe Archimboldo


Jan Anthonisz van Ravesteyn (Dutch, c. 1570-1657)
Portrait of an Old Woman, late  16th-mid 17th century
Oil on canvas


The third work by Ragnar Kjartansson was his superb nine-screen installation that was filmed in one take at the historic Rokeby farm in upstate New York. Named after ABBA’S final album, The Visitors, it records the performances of a group of friends, musicians and artists, playing simultaneously but in different rooms of the mansion. They all play the same song each one enriching it with their own voice, instrument and presence. Kjartansson himself performs most of the time in a bathtub. The film mesmerizes and moves audiences of all ages wherever it is shown. You can watch a recording of the recording, uploaded on YouTube by one of its many admirers.

Anish Kapoor (British, b. 1954)
Upside Down, Inside Out, 2003
Resin and paint


Phoenix Art Museum

January 30th, 2019

Wearable Art

Taking its rightful place alongside more traditional forms of art.

Alessandro Michele (Italian, b. 1972) for Gucci
Ensemble F/W 2016


Stephen Jones (British, b. 1957)
”Show” Hat, F/W 2013 ”Art School”
Perspex Plexiglas


Deborah Williams Remington (American, 1930-2010)
Dover, 1975
Oil on canvas


Stephen Jones (British, b. 1957)
”Sewing” Hat, S/S 2018
Printed cotton with satin cord and metal bodkin


Rei  Kawakubo (Japanese, b. 1942)
Comme des Garçons, S/S 2018


Rei  Kawakubo (Japanese, b. 1942)
Comme des Garçons, S/S 2018


Rei  Kawakubo (Japanese, b. 1942)
Comme des Garçons, S/S 2018


Rei  Kawakubo (Japanese, b. 1942)
Comme des Garçons, S/S 2018


Viola Frey (American, 1933-2004)
Nude Man, 1989
Glazed ceramic


John Galliano (British, b. 1960) for Maison Margiela
Ensemble Fall 2018


Kehinde Wiley (American, b. 1977)
Marechal Floriano  Peixoto (from The World Stage: Brazil Series), 2009
Oil on canvas


Phoenix Art Museum

January 30th, 2019

Marguerite Humeau: Birth Canal

“Birth Canal,” the first US solo museum exhibition by Marguerite Humeau (b. 1986, Cholet, France), debuts a new body of sculpture within an installation of light, sound, and scent. Humeau’s work centers on the origins of humankind and related histories of language, love, spirituality, and war. She prefaces each project with a period of intense investigation in which she engages diverse authorities on her chosen subject, including historians, anthropologists, paleontologists, zoologists, explorers, linguists, and engineers. Through her interdisciplinary, speculative inquiry, Humeau enriches her own thinking as an artist and researcher, and refashions historical quests in ways that reflect the technological age in which we live. – New Museum

New Museum, 235 Bowery, New York

January 6th, 2019

Sarah Lucas : Au Naturel

A love-it-or-hate-it situation

Over the past thirty years, Lucas has created a distinctive and provocative body of work that subverts traditional notions of gender, sexuality, and identity. Since the late 1980s, she has transformed found objects and everyday materials such as cigarettes, vegetables, and stockings into disorienting, confrontational tableaux that boldly challenge social norms. The human body and anthropomorphic forms recur throughout Lucas’s works, often appearing erotic, humorous, fragmented, or reconfigured into fantastical anatomies of desire. – New Museum

The exhibition was on view between September 2018 – January 2019.

New Museum, 235 Bowery, New York

January 6th, 2019

Before Projection: Video Sculpture 1974–1995

”Before Projection” shines a spotlight on a body of work in the history of video art that has been largely overlooked since its inception while simultaneously placing it within the history of sculpture. Exploring the connections between our current moment and the point at which video art was transformed dramatically with the entry of large-scale, cinematic installation into the gallery space, Before Projection presents a tightly focused survey of monitor-based sculpture made between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s. [source: Sculpture Center]

Maria Vedder’s ”PAL oder Never The Same Color”, a video installation with twenty-five monitors, was first presented in 1988. PAL (Phase Alternating Line) is the system used to standardize color broadcasting in Europe, developed for analog television. NTSC (National Television System Committee), mockingly dubbed “Never The Same Color,” is the competing standard in North America.


Ernst Caramelle’s ”Video-Ping-Pong” (1974) examines the relationship between the human body and video through a recording of a Ping-Pong match, which plays on two monitors mounted on AV carts at approximately eye level and positioned in front of a “real” Ping-Pong table. Sounds of the bouncing Ping-Pong ball are audible, although no ball is visible between the two monitors. The result is a disarming sense of the players’ presence in the space of the sculpture.


Nam June Paik, ”Charlotte Moorman II”, 1995. Nine antique TV cabinets, two cellos, one 13-inch color TV, two 5-inch color TVs, eight 9-inch color TVs, and two- channel video.


Friederike Pezold, ”Die neue leibhaftige Zeichensprache (The New Embodied Sign Language)”, 1973–76. Four digitized videos.

”The New Embodied Sign Language” comprises four monitors displaying close-up videos of the artist’s body altered by theatrical makeup. The videos (subtitled Augenwerk [Eye Work], Mundwerk [Mouth Work], Bruststück [Breast Piece], and Schamwerk [Pubic Work]) are shown on monitors stacked on top of each other to reach roughly the height of a human body.


In Takahiko Iimura’s ”TV for TV” (1983), two monitors are positioned face-to-face, each tuned to a different broadcast station or to static. Their respective streams are only directed toward the other television set, rendering their images nearly invisible to the viewer.


Shigeko Kubota’s ”River” (1979–81) is composed of three monitors hung at eye-level above a curved, stainless steel trough equipped with a wave motor. The monitors alternate footage of Kubota swimming with brightly colored graphic shapes, which were created with state-of-the- art postproduction equipment of the time. Reflected on the surface of the water, the images’ legibility is periodically disrupted by the wave motor. The work typifies Kubota’s recurring interest in water and video as apt mediums to represent cyclicality, as well as her idea of video as “liquid reality.”


 

Before Projection ran between September & December 2018.

Sculpture Center, Long Island City

December 14th, 2018