Saturday, January 22, 2011

Carte Blanche á Adam McEwen Fresh Hell/ 20/10-16/01. by craniv boyd

Carte Blanche á Adam McEwen Fresh Hell/ 20/10-16/01. Avec: Bas Jan Ader, Barbara Bloom, Jonathan Borofsky, Angela Bulloch, Maurizio Cattalan, Anne Collier, Martin Creed, Gino De Dominicis, Walter De Maria, Jessica Diamond, MatiasFaldbakken, Isa Genzken, Geert Goiris, Dan Graham, Philip Guston, Raymond Hains, David Hammons, Georg Herold, Martin Kippenberger, Michael Landy, Hanna & Klara Liden, Nate Lowman, Sarah Lucas, Ana Mendieta, Henri Michaux, Reinhard Mucha, Bruce Nauman & Frank Owen, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Rob Pruitt, Steven Shearer, Roman Signer, Agathe Snow, Rudolf Stingel, Rosemarie Trockel, Valie Export, H.C. Westermann, et des oeuvres du Musée de cluny MNMA, Paris, Palis de Tokyo 13 av. Du President Wislon, Paris. by craniv boyd


When 37 artists of the current generation get together and include medieval statuary in glass vitrines what do you expect? Imagining the successful internationalist set of artists who are active in London, England New York City, United States of America, or Berlin, Germany together in a bright spacious white cube next to one another in a spacing that at times feels Spartan and at times feels minimal, Imaging this and you will have a feel for fresh Hell at Palais du Tokyo in Paris.


Perhaps you were at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice in 2007 around the time of the Venice Biennale, if you saw the exhibition there then, you could have a kind of time warp and flash back moment when walking through Carte Blanche, curated by artist Adam McEwen, for some of the artists in the Grassi show then are some of the usual suspects in the exhibition in the 16th arrondissement in Paris now. Like Rudolf Stingel, or David Hammonds, for example. This feeling of time travel is only further heightened when viewing the works of either artist, yes different works were exposed at both institutions years and kilometers apart, but when you see a dingy looking silvery wall with scratched in lettering at the commence of Fresh Hell, it is for all intensive purposes another installment of the installation Stingel had at the Palazzo Grassi, more of the same is the feeling one has for the work of David Hammonds too, when having a 2007 flashback in late 2010, induced by seeing urban detritus, broken car windshield made to be a back board for a basketball hoop with a old hooded sweatshirt hood detached and pinned to the museum wall, or the work he contributed then, in Venice, a sort of Quihxiotian quotidian, arranged out of found urban materials, a limp hooded figure with a lance on a kind of broken bicycle. There is nothing wrong with consistency and the power of brand recognition of certain current artists, I only mention this strange phenomena of seeing the same or similar groupings of art makers over a period of years at the institutional level, what makes for a good fun or fresh group show dynamic is one where Hammonds or Stingel are in the mix.


Was it not Jackson Pollock who said that his painting was nation-less? Not that his paintings were un-American, but more that the idea of nationhood in painting, would be a kind of super regionalism from which he was attempting to sceed himself from. The regionalism his teacher, painter Thomas Hardt Benton, practiced was old fashioned, why not the provincial of the idea of an American painting too after all Pollock was interested in painting not jingoism. Similarly this multi artist installation, Fresh Hell is multi national without feeling national, yet there is a variant of a new, New York international Provencals art at play here.


Some of the artists in the show are entrenched in the New York scene, seeing this grouping of artists would not be so strange in a New York City gallery like that of Michelle Maccarone, or the now defunct Rivington Arms, both were at one point in the much a talked about Lower East Side Manhattan region. Seeing Nate Lowman, post minimalist post ironic jokesy "paintings" that are dirty stained duck canvass next to a collaborative video loop by the Swedish Born Liden sisters titled Techno Battle, one gets a strong feeling of New York sceanester artists. The artists them selves are kind of young and easy to party with, good looking and occasionally have photographs taken of themselves by tabloid photographers for reasons of romantic involvement with one of the former national television stars, Olsen Twins. Lowman has mounted exhibitions with Dan Colon good friends and colleagues with the Late Dash Snow, yes these artists have had some kind of a working and partying camaraderie that extends beyond their gallery collaborations endless vernnissage parties and opening night dinners, guilt by association in times when easy funny concepts and detached minimalist-esque looking work are heralded as the relevant art made by the younger generation. A painting that is relevant in its commentary of abstract expressionism but is all the same an oil painting of bird excrement, or a painting that looks like a Morris Louis or a Helen Frankenthaler stain painting, but is produced by walking over the canvass with dirty shoes, instead of spilling acrylic paint. A kind of angry white young male attitude towards the art of previous generations of artists working with painting, wry reactionary critique of modernism by making fun of Jackson Pollock or Helen Frankenthaler, instead of committed development of a new voice or method and way of painting, mockery in art where generosity would be nice to feel instead.


The video shot and on display by the Liden sisters is a kind of energetic punk rock low fidelity society commentary. Two masked women in a remote deserted Swedish playground throw then burn the idols of consumerist worship, ie the ipod and macintosh laptops. This kind of funny yet simpleminded video (which could have been edited in consumer software like imovie instead of the more technical, avid or final cut pro,) could definitely be a type of product placement for the very object they destroy and burn during the video. The whole self conscious low fidelity and ironic approach speaks to a concept heavy kind of work that is light on concept, an oxymoronic artwork that is detached and reminiscent of the current art academies in its super low production value, and speed and ease of execution. A video work that could bee shot in less than half an afternoon before the local bars open in Hissingen. The work looks like the work being made in top tier fine arts programs the world over, but its low fidelity quality is part of what makes it cheap to transport, insure or install all positive when your production budget for an exhibition of contemporary art is next to zero euros.


The curator of the exhibition miss-places Walter De Marias high Energy Bar, the object in the recessed is a distant and foreign energy drained work, overshadowed and sapped by this over-curated exposition, one barely feels the power of the de Maria, and could hardly guess this is the same author of the Lightning Field near Marfa Texas, nor the Broken Kilometer in New York. The viewer needs the wall text to be told of the work's merits, so out of place next to super positive wallpaper of "Yes" by Agathe Snow. The methodology behind the curating of this exhibition that takes few risks becomes strangely apparent, the biggest "names" of the exhibition are the ones with the most physically substantial and present works, Sara Lucas with an excellent sculpture of a helmet in a burned chair with helmet made entirely of filter cigarettes, courtesy of her London gallery, the late Martin Kippenberger with his paintings and a large metal sculpture, courtesy of either gallery or private collector, the wall text at the beginning of the exhibition tells the public that this show is intended to take a tour into the mind of the working artist and draw a new and relevant connection between post minimalist internationalist practices, and 14th and 15th century Gothic arts, also shown in the same exhibition courtesy of the Musée Cluny, the intentions of the curator fall quite flatfooted producing an exhibition viewing experience that is largely generalist, stratified like a contemporary art fair, unfocused. Hard as it is to harm a work of art by showing it to a patient public, through this casual grouping one feels this nonchalance of curatorial decision making ultimately and unfortunately detrimental to the understanding and appreciation of the works of the artists exposed. by craniv boyd

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.