Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Richard Hawkins, “Scalps, Dungeon and Salome Paintings” 1 July -27 August 2011, Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Fasanenstraße 30, Berlin 10719, by craniv boy

Richard Hawkins, "Scalps, Dungeon and Salome Paintings" 1 July -27 August 2011, Galerie Daniel Buchholz, Fasanenstraße 30, Berlin 10719, by craniv boyd.


This is an exhibition of bright colored paintings with homosexual iconography.  There are shoe boxes women's shoes in large sizes, drag queen sizes and clippings of hair and colored tags on bands, which interspersed between the paintings, hang on hooks. The work is in Galerie Daniel Buchholz, and for those interested in seeing naïve, clumsy small to mid-scaled oil on canvass with men in bikinis and floating severed heads along with "scalps" that fit into shoe boxes giving new meaning to prêt a porter, then Richard Hawkins, is your artist and his current work shown until 27th of august would be right for you.


 Idle men, in empty spaces that look like nightclubs, standing in doorways, poised at a threshold. The paintings titled Salome paintings with descriptive titles that sound like a punch line in a horror movie "three heads and a thong" have just what they describe, zombie heads (at home perhaps in Hannah Barbara's Scooby Doo) floating and one man wearing a thong.


Is the Berlin painting aficionado to "read" paintings seen in eleven years past the turn of the millennium, with a cloying flavor of expressionism collectively named Salome, as reference to the biblical story, or homage to the West Berlin based young wild painter of the nineteen eighties with the artist name Salomé. 


Paintings built to hold other, smaller paintings, oddly shaped oil on particle board tableaux, that are perhaps understood as, what late Phillip Guston trying to make a tromp l'oie of a metal dungeon door would do. Each of the dungeon door series has a rectangle cut away that fits snugly one of the smaller Salome line.  The most abstract open ended and flexible of this line is a work sub-titled Venice. Beach or biennial, there are no figures in this painting and if one opens the associative "door" marked biennial one could think of the Icelandic national Pavilion at the 2009 edition of the Venice Biennial, with perfom-ative paintings, or bad painting as performance of the Icelandic artist who has it all, pop music band, art practice and gallery representation on both sides of the Atlantic ocean, Ragnar Kjartanson. Photographs of his performance where he painted on oil on canvass portrait of his pal in a black Speedo, one painting per day. Made the front page of the arts section in the New York Times.  That is if you look at art and paintings with the skeptical eye of a detective on the hunt for associative improbable trails of influence in current painting.


Richard Hawkins, a talented pop colorist, has set some pictures with layers patchwork textures that look slightly cartoon esque and decorative with light subject matter and creepy gruesome heads that oddly look like they are checking out the half naked men standing in the doorways of the picture plane. The work is a series. As such individual exemplars appear repetitive. It is a gallery exhibition, and of course all works are for sale each work, each painting, with few exceptions looks as if it is a copy or slight shifting of another painting. The work begs the question of: who would like to have awkward colorful paintings of young half-naked men and rotting flying ghost heads observing those men? By craniv boyd. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Basic Instincts:Villa Elisabeth Invaliden St. 3, Berlin by craniv boyd.

Basic Instincts: creative direction: José Klap & Sandor Lubbe, artistic curation: Luca Marchettie & Emanuele Quinz, exhibtion design: Henrik Vibskov.  Alexandra Leykauf, Amie Dicke, Anne de Grijff, Anne Holtrop, Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek, BCXSY, Blommers/Schumm, Bo Reudler, Daphna Laurens, David Jablonowski, Doeple Strijkers Architicts, Erwin Olaf, Frederike Top, Freudenthal/Verhagen, Georgios Maridakis, Gionata Gatto, Hester Scheurwater, Iris van Herpen, Jo Meesters, Joost Vandebrug, Klavers van Engelen, Lab van Abbema, Lex Pott, Marcel van der Vlugt, Matthias Vriens, Monique van Heist, Morad Bouchakour, Natasja Kensmill, Navid Nuur, Oda Pausma, Pascal Smelik, Paul Kooiker, Paula Arntzenm Petrovsky & Ramone, Pieke Bergmans, Powerhous Company, Sandor Lubbe, Scholten & Baijings, Sharon Geschiere, Siba Sahabi, Stealth Unlimited, Studio Glithero, Whim Architecture,Juli 1- 31. 2011, Villa Elisabeth Invaliden St. 3, Berlin by craniv boyd.


A building in a green square near a church in Invaliden Street, in center city Berlin, is where this multi-floored, exhibition titled Basic Instincts takes place.


Artists, photographers, designers, fashion designers, industrial designers, architects and glass blowers all from, educated, or active in the Netherlands are the diverse creators included and exposed in this month long exhibition, that although jam packed with different artworks, scale models, and products, is surprisingly uncluttered and deftly organized. No small feat.


Lex Pott has a series of metal shelving that might make a natural scientist or chemist smile. His pallet is of oxidation, there are a few metal panels and the chemistry of the rust inducing reaction is named on the plate of wall-mounted metal, acting like color chip. Directly before it stand shelves made of the respective Zinc, Copper, Aluminum, Bronze or Steel, and their corresponding acids. There is a wondrous array of how metal can change color.


Artist Anne de Grijff created a series of irregular shaped wooden triangular puzzle pieces that when tied together with plastic zip ties, form a modular display platform. Taking out the Utopian teeth of Bucky Fuller, and his geodesic and triangle designs. 


Jo Meesters, contributes chairs vessels and tables made from reused and cast paper pulp. The chair shown is solid carbon black and sturdy and weighty. The inside of the large basic formed bowls are varnished and have a semi reflective surface.


Doeple Strijkers Architects, show a scale model and an animated presentation of a sustainable tequila brewery and community development project. The plan develops further the traditional Hacienda, and in its program and cycle production like proffers other reusable functions for the by products of Agave fibers, for their clients in the Jalisco region of Mexico.


Powerhouse Company, in a video coupled with plaster model retrospective of their Villa portfolio, set-forth what both architects dub a pleasure principal. Their interview has an obnoxious funk-music track. Lamentably you cannot hear the architects speak about what that principal might be, because of the blaring background music. Yet Flood house, funnel-shaped with a roof patio with four stair cases in a cross that lead up to a rim looks stunning. Other homes like villa Neo, although with novel settings in the topography look like further, accessible meditations on the Barcelona Pavilion, by that ex Bau-hauser Mies van der Rohe.


Fashion designer, Iris van Herpen, has decided to show one of her recent collections by commissioning a short video, by artist Zach Gold. The clothing looks of many black rubber bands creating swishing porous sleeves for knotty, gnarly textured corsets producing an impractical neo baroque underwear look, for clothing that is barely there or easy access. The video has a couple man and woman covered in flour pillow fighting on a bed, their staged battle and grappling suggestive of what the clothing can do. Youthful bodies on a bed, which are barely clothed. Their clothing that is mutable, and shredded paper reminiscent, is one more proof in the sex sells canon.    



Hester Scheurwater takes black and white photographs both objectifying, and abjectifying her-self that look like a spirit of Japanese photographer Daido Moriama possesses her. She lies in the mud and with a cell phone and large mirror takes an up skirt photograph that, clearly a dirty girl would take. The compressed space and contorted athleticism of the seen camerawoman looks like alcohol fueled Glastonbury, Roskilde, or Woodstock experience gone wrong, but it is also could remind like mystery the unseen sadist, revealed to be drug addled woman chauvinist in the "controversial" prodigy music video of the early 'aughts titled "smack my b?*$% up".


There is a funny comprehensive formalistic look at specific types of sub sets or subheadings of people in disparate locations. Ari Versluis & Ellie Uyttenbroek Take pictures of "carry daddies" "formers" "French touch" and "girls of the 7emm Paris" in front of white or neutral backgrounds, presenting the joys of conformity. All people start looking the same and like one another and the clothing it seems would make the man or woman if they chose to be an eco-punk in Rotterdam or a Muslim man past 50 years of age in Rabat.


What made this exhibition so lively apart from the wooden platforms on wheels on rails you could lay-back, and roll around on the second level, was an attention to craft and material sensibility that rewards the senses. There was one room with one artwork in it that had so much anise, nutmeg and cumin that you could smell their fragrance on entering. At one point you had to touch the exhibition design elements grey woven elsatine bands over conduit, to pass through the barrier that hundreds of these bands imposed between spectators and the objects. Seeing is what people are accustomed to doing in a situation like this, yet with optical art that, at first look, seems like black and white stripes to give you a migraine headache, contains after staring blankly a hidden image of a three quarter length portrait of a Dutch model wearing a pale gauzy designer blouse. 


The venue of Villa Elisabeth, which housed Basic Instincts, is a centrally located largish building with character and charm in its many levels. The Villa looks like it could very-well function as a Municipal arts center or home for a public contemporary art museum collection, although it is a parish, might have the makings of a great smaller museum building. By craniv boyd.    

Making Mirrors: Von Körpern und Blicken (of Body and Gaze) NGBK, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst e.V. Oranien Str. 25 D-10999 craniv bo

Making Mirrors: Von Körpern und Blicken (of Body and Gaze) NGBK, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst e.V. Künstler/Artists Sonia Barrett, Jean-Ulrick Désert, Farida Heuck, Wayne Hodge, Rajkamal Kahlon, Wolfram Kastner, Phillip Metz, Oliver Walker/Dave Ball, Serfiraz Vural, Pasquale Rotter, Daniele Dause, Manuela Ritz, Oranien Str. 25 D-10999 craniv boyd.


Tucked behind a storefront for a bookshop that appears to have a selection of coffee table books on current art and design, is a non for profit exhibition space, called NGBK, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst e.V. Currently on view there is a small group exhibition, inclusive of just over a dozen artists, the kind of presentation that non commercial art exhibition venues, for art-made-recently tend to do best.  It is a thematic exhibition that showcases artists who are making societal commentary on the narrowly focused or overtly broad topic depending on your world view of race and prejudice, as felt locally in Berlin, Germany.


The artworks, that are saddled with the awareness raising task, which both their creators, and the organizers of this exhibition give them, are of diverse materials, from Text piece to polychromatic plaster sculpture, back to video installtaltion to cordoned off scatter art. Every thing from painting and coloring books to mirrors and collage is on view and all art-works introduced to NGBK's public, are in service of challenging normalising stereo types and bias as it relates to people of color.


Visitors are confronted with San serif letter forms scaled at about eight hundred and sixty four points, (big type!) a questionnaire on the wall that poses a series of queries with ostensibly no wrong answer, that in their existence provide German and English speaking visitors with a frame of reference to look at the rest of the art that follows or a cryptic background to form a lens tinted with race related questions. Big letters that ask viewer to reflect on their own self awareness, and position in „Racist" society, should you need more time you can lift and take a photo copy of the questionnaire, provided by NGBK, to think over the „leftist" survey taken from Eske Wollrads book „Weißsein im Widerspruch: Femininistiche Perspectiven auf Rassismuss, Kultur und Religion"


If you want to wear on a daily basis a polemical re formulation of sentiments found in the survey questions you can purchase a white cotton tee shirt, by artist Farida Heuck, at the information desk for fifteen Euros. These fashion items, with German words in boxes that look like the European Union advisory labels, on Cigarette packaging that tell people more or less that smoking will kill them. „Seitdem ich weiß bin, muss ich nicht mehr als Putzfrau arbeiten!" reads a message on one cotton tee shirt, and it is quizzical statement. Although it confronts issues surrounding labour and race, the tee-shirt does so with simplistic means.


Wayne Hodge paints a neoclassical bust of a woman black and adorns the figure with big plastic or rubber black-person-negroid lips. Idealistic cultural by -product of an era when racialist and nordecist thinking was in its germination stages i.e. the 19th century, and laying some thick oily looking black paint over it. Mr. Hodge has included this work in an oeuvre titled Negerkuss, performances where he kisses statues and objects. The bust on a pedestal, however, looks like a remnant. Despite that it is a statue, its small scale provides this instance of Wayne Hodge's artwork with the character of, thought provoking afterthought.


Rajkamal Kahlon, makes paintings and cynical coloring books, the paintings if you cant afford to by them have the same content of the coloring books and are designed to be one cohesive unit. Coloring Germany has one painting where the 16 federal states of Germany and the state capitals are named after cities in the Middle East and Central Asia. The mid-format painting is purposely evocative of a child's coloring book. Quirky hand writing announces and contradicts the names like Mosul and Kuwait, along with suggestive colorful textile patterns that stay neatly within reunified Germany's current federal frontiers. In another painting, the paid piper, of Teutonic folklore, leads figures in burkas, one, on camel back, the clear juxtaposition is flatfooted, yet totally in line with Hamburg's recent tradition of painting as bad joke or just plain bad.


The video installation, with interviews three to eight minutes in length,  where strangers of the educated creative cast in Berlin are invited to a dinner party and participate in a modest artistic experiment, seeking to divorce visual, and auditory hallmarks of a persons character, from content of speech.  Via a system of video surveillance, microphones, ear pieces, and a pairing of actual actor at the dinner table who was obliged to utter and repeated the content of the unseen speaker in another room, who saw what was transpiring via live video feed. The multi player game like work although doubtlessly fun to participate in for the privileged or willing invitees, is, in its current dry incarnation, decidedly not fun to look at. Oliver Walker and Dave Ball pit social networking against, reality television, and even though it is three television monitors six grey seating boxes and one neutral modernist wall diagram. The work Dinner Party looks like a great pilot for a new reality television show about young 20 to 40 somethings in Berlin.


Worst in show goes to the artist Sonia Barrett,  her work: Und wie Heissen sie A wie Anton, who with a participatory wheel contraption rimmed with low cost plastic framed mirrors, adjectives and cut out photographs, retains the air of science fair project. The work that requires two or more participants to maneuver and report to one another is awkward in both design, choice of materials and premise. Color computer printouts of black and white people, mirrors on the opposite sides a office chair positioned in front, give a confused, ugly, inelegant, look to „social space" type art installation.


For visitors with numismatic inclinations the installation of Jean-Ulrick Désert, could provide significant visual titillation. Many thin coin like objects are pinned on a red velvet background, and there is one gold colored coin amongst the predominant field of silver. It is the most retinally rewarding art in this polemical exhibition, that being said it still is flat.


An art exhibition assigned to invoke pre-conceived, ideas of judgement, race, surroundings, or social-standing that viewers may or may not posses. In general: awkwardness, and inelegance of means clutter the treatment of this race polemic. Individual artistic positions in this thematic exhibition, the charged topic: race, are muted and muddled, hot-button issues, that NGBK re-covers, if not exacerbates, in Making Mirrors. by craniv boyd.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Once Upon A Time: Francis Alÿs, Cao Fei, Pierre Huyghe, Aleksandra Mir, Mika Rottenberg, Janaina Tschape: Fantastic Narratives in Contemporary Video,

Once Upon A Time: Francis Alÿs, Cao Fei, Pierre Huyghe, Aleksandra Mir, Mika Rottenberg, Janaina Tschape: Fantastic Narratives in Contemporary Video, curated by associate curator and Manager of curatorial affairs, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Joan Young: 8.7-9.10, Deutsche + Guggenheim, Unter den Linden 13/15, 101117 Berlin, Germany, by craniv boyd.


This exhibition, at the Deutsche+ Guggenheim, is firmly in the here and now, and, its art, soon to be dated or obsolete in appearance. The fact that it is a thematic exhibition, of late Nineteen Nineties and early past millennial art, truly recent Video art in the collections of either the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, or Deutsche Bank, and labeled suggestively in the title as "Fantastic" gives a cue, or false start, to the grouping of the current artists represented in this installation.


Fantastic, we hope, is not meant in the qualitative declarative meaning often ascribed to the word in speech. What is meant perhaps, by this usage of the word by, Joan Young, and the exhibition organizers, and confirmed by the art shown, is more of a fairy tale and far-fetched nature. Over the top tongue in cheek temporary land art made for Dutch television in the work of Polish born Aleksandra Mir, second generation Structuralist Film making spliced with post colonial global discourse, and local community volunteer work as landscape design, in the hands of a South American Biennial project by Belgian born artist Francis Alÿs, Out sourced East Asian, Artisan production by Franco American cultural producers, Frenchman Pierre Huyghe, and the late, American Phillip Parenneo, a video art work that needs self decidedly an intellectual property lawyer.  Or fairy tale musings in documentaries tri-part video of an OSRAM light bulb plant, located in China, after the conception of Chinese artist Cao Fei.  Fantastical or Phantasmagorical, an impossible bread factory assembly line manned by women in ripe colored polyester tropical uniforms, the Argentinean Mika Rottenberg. Fable like dancing barefoot in a quizzical costume, until you drop, in your private villa in Wiemar set to a romance era piano forte sonata, by Brazil born Janaina Tschape.


First woman on the moon is a work that in 1999 recreated on a beach in Holland the creater where Neil Armstrong and the Apollo mission landed on the moon. The saturated color of the footage of the video loop, taken by Piotr Uklanski, has a lighthearted fun house beach party flair. Compared with the Hasseblad documentation photographs that in one case have the dual function of, exhibition design element, the high quality photos of women in white that grace: the poster advertising Once Upon a Time, the current edition of the Deutsche +Guggenheim's newsletter, and the events calendar. When you hire a team of construction workers in the Netherlands to recreate a section of the Moon, with bulldozers for you and your pals to walk up, take good documentation photographs with the same camera that NASA used when they went on the lunar expedition. 


For an edition of the Lima Biennial in Peru, Francis Alÿs, who is based in Mexico City, went yet further south and got some 500 Peruvian volunteers to "shift " a mountain with metal shovels for one day. The work a three channeled video installation, one low placed television screen and two free hanging "horse-Blinders" of the same mountain back projected, is installed with a preface of the "Making Of" micro documentary. The participants have more to say of how they felt and what they though when making this stiff Formalistic work, so that the voices of the university students in south of the equator Latin America, seem more refreshing than one more stilted work by the Belgian Artist, who took an ice cube or a tin can for a walk in Mexico city, and ended up on the cover of Art forum for a while.


Pierre Huyghe is represented first by an invoice to a Japanese animator who drew a cell and developed a character. The invoice is in a frame to make the global nature of the work and just who is the artist that should be credited as "contemporary". Inside an temporary video enclave, a large video projection that really looks in terrible need of de-interlacing, because still images of the work, looked much more crisp in their press photos. A digitally manipulated speech of Neil Armstrong mixed with Jules Verne and a schematic showing a hyper-specific random thread assigned to bind Snæfellsjókjull, to Jules Verne, to Neil Armstrong and space exploration. The glowing Japanese Anime character walks, head downcast through a barren grey field. The Field changes with the utterances on the audio track, it looks like a decibel graph, extruded and rendered in three dimensions. I suspect those who play video games saturated with high quality digital graphics that change rapidly, might be disappointed in the blank, simple and one trick pony nature of Pierre Huyghe's out sourced collaborative video work in this exhibition. 



The dignity of the changing dreams of Chinese workers is a mood set and sustained in an elegant, with cheapo means, low fidelity standard definition video, by Cao Fei. It is silent no loquacious dialogue, like C. Chaplin's classic film Modern Times, and emphasizes body movement and dance as language of Chinese men and women who despite working as laborers in a light-bulb factory, possess the skills and ability, to dance Peking Opera, emulate a Crane or stand on toes in point shoes. The plant workers are shown in a light at although of harsh neon cast is slightly maudlin, yet as such the people Cao Fei presents in Whose Utopia? are having over the duration of the video triad, an oddly unsentimental bearing. Sensitivity of approach to the people with whom she worked speaks of an author from that region.


The far-fetched bread factory which Mika Rottenberg, built for her video parleys in a similar æsthetic of Dr. Suess, the Grinch that stole Christmas might buy this supper long bread, or the partner of the Cat in the Hat might work in this kind of a bread factory with oddly shaped conveyor belt, where she sheds acidic tears that help the yeast rise the dough. The work in its decidedly claustrophobic and cramped presentation method, to inflict a type of temporary intimacy with strange exhibition public, is fun house. The fancy free amusement park way, of displaying a work of video art, is clearly meant to bring smile to the corners of Deutsche + Guggenheim, visitors mouths. By craniv boyd. 

European Cultural Policies, 2015: A report with Scenarios on the Future of Public Funding for Contemporary Art in Europe:edited by Maria Lind, Raimund Minichbauer:ISBN 3-9501762-4-1, book report, by craniv boyd.

European Cultural Policies, 2015: A report with Scenarios on the Future of Public Funding for Contemporary Art in Europe:edited by Maria Lind, Raimund Minichbauer: with Gerald Raunig, Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt, Oleg Kireev, Branka Curcic, Frédéric Jacquemin, Cornelia Sollfrank, Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, Tone Hansen. ISBN 3-9501762-4-1, book report, by craniv boyd.


Edited, in 2005, under the ægis of both institutions of, the International Artist Studio Programme in Sweden, in Stockholm, and the European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies, in Vienna, for the occasion of a panel discussion, held in London for the Frieze foundation art Fair, --European Cultural Policies, 2015: A report with Scenarios on the Future of Public Funding for Contemporary Art in Europe, is a small book that attempts to project forward what the public money picture for current art could be in the year 2015.


The authors are various Northern Europeans, some Eastern and Central Europeans, who were at the time of writing, commence-to-mid levels, of their respective, art administrative callings. Who utilized, limited career experience to predict the future of European arts funding. Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt, Tone Hansen, Frédéric Jacquemin, and Maria Lind; write guess-work about what, according to their opinions and personal experience managing smaller tax money funded contemporary art spaces, what the likely future funding possibilities and what the cultural climate, the back-drop of cultural policy making is in varying national theaters, such as but not limited to: Belgium, Scotland, Norway and Sweden.



Rebecca Gordon Nesbitt, proffers a case-study in constituent country, in the United Kingdom: Scotland, but with out study. Her contribution has an intimidating 35 footnotes, yet 16 of the citations are to World Wide Web sites. The head of the now defunct Nordic Institute for Contemporary Art, located in Helsinki must have been qualified at the time to talk of cultural policy making in Scotland, because Finland, and Glasgow are close to one another geographically, what with Ryan Air and all.


Tone Hansen, is generous, in the text they wrote speaks, of artists in Norway being distanced from Museums and institutions, in Norway that choose to outsource exhibition organization, of the institutions. It is one of the rare instances where the essay takes into account a dichotomy of despite increases funding for culture in Norway, artists still have a hard time of living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, Oslo.


In his contribution titled Belgian Barbarians, Frédéric Jacquemin sheds some light onto not only cultural political streams in a smaller densely populated European country. But how political climates in Belgium at the time of his writing, evinced by more votes then for, de Vlaamse Belang, Flemish conservatives, and the dynamic of Flemish, French, and German speakers who are all, Belgians and providing some insight as to how public art funding monies is disbursed according to specific ethnic and linguistic criterion.


Maria Lind in her introduction devotes time to, about what and where the Frieze Foundation, has its money, with a kind of respect for the complex entity that is: both updated worlds fair, contemporary art periodical, and grant giver to artists. The appreciative explanatory tone is perhaps required as the "report" is in part commissioned for the Frieze art fair in October of 2005, but a flavor of ambition, in her description of what Frieze is in Maria Lind's own words, is palpable. It tastes of an author who would like to spearhead a large organization for contemporary art, by proving they can say in less than five paragraphs what Frieze, in this case, stands for.



To have the transcripts of an Art fair panel discussion collected and printed in Slovakia, and title the issue as a Report, instead of Transcript is strange, or better yet, corrupt. Because the book is a printed form of a compact ten to twenty minute talk that a European arts administrator, in the field of current art, held for a niche London public. Speaking of where they work and hazarding informed guesses as to what kind of art, European Governments would fund ten years hence.


Statistical tables, pie charts, and hard scientific method and a thorough report of operating costs i.e evidential fact are missing, at hand are conversational, laywoman/layman essays, conversational only if you are a person used to listening in on the critical theory peppered conversations of contemporary art curators. The essays of the report at times cite emails and cross-reference web addresses. The most transparency, of this: Report with Scenarios on the Future of Public Funding for Contemporary Art in Europe happens on its cover where, as a design element the production costs of said book are enumerated. Inside the book however, there are hermetic texts that list strange names, odd places, and direct in the notes section to ethereal web addresses that look like dens and havens for spammers with two dots prior the "com" or country domain.


Although with the singular contributions, the book, raises questions about regional funding and provincial concerns of Leitkultur. Viewed, six years from its publishing, and four years away from the scenarios it describes, readers could ask if the local European art funding trends reflective of Globalism, forecasted by the authors still hold true, or not. By craniv boyd. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Art School (Propositions for the 21st century), edited and with an introduction by Steven Henry Madoff: ISBN 978-0-262-13493-4, book report by craniv

Art School (Propositions for the 21st century), edited and with an introduction by Steven Henry Madoff: contributors Marina Abramovic, Dennis Adams, John Baldessari, Ute Meta Bauer, Daniel Birnbaum, Saskia Bos, Tania Bruguera, Luis Camnitzer, Michael Craig-Martin, Thierry de Duve, Clémentine Deliss, Charles Esche, Liam Gillick, Boris Groys, Hans Haacke, Ann Lauterbach, Ken Lum, Steven Henry Madoff, Brendan D. Moran, Ernesto Pujol, Raqs Media Collective, Charles Renfro, Jeffrey T. Schnapp, Michael Shanks, Robert Storr, Anton Vidokle. ISBN 978-0-262-13493-4, book report by craniv boyd.


 Ludwig Wittgenstein, Logic, and Language are pictures evoked in the sub-titling, via Key word, Propositions, of this collection of, letters to the book editor, Steven Henry Madoff, on the subject of Art school. Correspondence seeking to answer where do "we" come from and where does that "we" go in the current century. Stephen Henry Madoff, in his preface speaks of gauntlets being thrust downwards collectively on the floor by the individuals who authored the texts about elusive content they think "art school" should have, or methods other than art making to inculcate "art school" students with, he recluses the authors from their hasty approach due to the urgency of the subject, fine arts pedagogy, and readers may fear rash use of Occam's razor in the hands of at first glance diverse authors.


Most texts, labeled Propositions or talks, transcribed discussion by two, or more contemporary art pundits, fall into four subheadings in the opinion of me, an unreliable author: one; of personal project description cloaked as pedagogical experiment, two; overview and subjective narration of what came to pass in the development of art schools in the 20th century, three; conversations held between teaching artists who are teaching a kind of art making, people with out an occidental liberal arts education would not think of as art, four; further mythologizing and consensus building of positivist progress fables towards, which modern art academies in France, Germany, and the United States of America, were significant.  There are however moments in the book, and contributions that break the dominantly politically correct, opaque and critically committed, mold that is defiantly beastly and many-headed like a Hydra.


Ernesto Pujol's contribution, reads as if he wrote it under the influence of a blaring Barack Hussein Obama, campaign stump speech, ground up, change, democratic and all those vaguely political charged keywords are fused to content. Pujol preaches programs of what an art school student should ideally learn these days. Taking cues from Mr. Pujol's text it could be a mix of comparative literature, arts administration, and sociology, painting and drawing have been rendered obsolete, of course "relieved of their burden" by the more relevant warhorse of photography. Left out in the cold as it were from that inclusive "ground-up" blend of inter and trans-disciplinary, let us hope that this text-bloated, hands-off, anti-art, pedagogical method, which Mr. Pujol argues for, is transitional.


Anton Vidokle gives a description of one year of niche event planning and networking for the not so tragically überhip the displaced with national and private arts grant funding in Berlin, Germany, cohort. The retrospective account grant-monies funded entertainment, of the project titled Unitednationsplaza that took place some where in a temporarily appropriated building in the former Soviet Sector, is an attempt in the form of the Anthology contribution to pass off party-planning as art-school or forward thinking art academy as loose-ethereal-network model. I suspect that Vidokle seeks to borrow credibility from more established contributors in Art School (Propositions for the 21st century) for his Unitednationsplaza project, in a similar opportunistic way by his decision to locate it in reunified Berlin.


Marina Abramovic and Tanja Bruguera are teaching artists who both teach performance art, and both women have founded their own performance art schools. Bruguera an artist born in Cuba, whom at the time of the books pre-finance-crisis publication, elected to describe her geographic location extravagantly as Paris, Havana, Chicago, is of a younger generation than the much venerated MoMA retrospected performance artist with Serbian origins Abramovic, with whom she talks. Abramovic speaks of ethical responsibility when teaching. Her own performances are not limited to self-flagellating, nor self-mutilation, where endurance and presence are central objectives. In a performance art class originally billed as Raum-Koncept, in at the time culturally conservative Braunschweig,(small-town in West-Germany) she instructed students not to do as she did. Cutting oneself was for after class when her students took full responsibility. Bruguera adopts the mantle of snake oil-sales-woman, claiming she does behavior art, not performance art. Bruguera's position in this conversation strikes a chord of needy accolade attempting to impress the wizened master-practitioner, with flourish, recounting their-own, and lesser, accomplishments. That being said, the problem is with widespread public ignorance, because of lack of contact and exposure with performance art and appreciation of the origins of that art-canon, in general. Both artists address a larger issue of you say Performance Art, I think Diaghilev and the Ballet Russe. Attitudinal positions that make it onerous to hire a performance artist to teach at an art academy, Boards of Trustee's might suggest, [why don't those students not go for a dance conservatory instead?] 


Robert Storr, and Charles Renfro, are despite tangible pessimism in both of their contributions, do more in the way of identifying, what the larger western art societal trends are. Museum and Art School Houses, so the Architect Renfro, history of art academies, and what the actual task of an art academy is at all, and that curse-word of current art education Genius, in relation to artists, so the department head of Yale school of Art, and Art Historian, Storr. Lively, and thought provoking rather than, mere written form of: what me and my buddies worked on last summer and how that project is heir apparent to Bau Haus and Black Mountain College. Perhaps it is due to their taking larger responsibilities, for a buildings program or organizing a large part of the Acme of high profile European Biennial exhibition, something a tad more systemic and abstract, albeit concretely political, than balancing ones artistic career, and small scale performance art school, or master class in how to create or feel behavior art. 


The Anthology is punctuated by the highlights of modern art academy projects with a seductive black and white Architecture centerfold, and a one page preciés in neutral, innocuous, yet subtle laudatory language, commencing from the Beaux arts Paris, with stopovers inclusive of, but not limited to; Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, Ulm in West Germany, New Haven Connecticut, with final destination in Tourcoing of all places at Le Fresnoy for a crypto propagandist Status conferral of a transmission tree of MODERNISM.


If you personally do not find it entertaining to read varied experts in contemporary art express with broad range of cogency, the paradoxical sentiment of: "you can not teach art/art making today, however your career will have a leg up, and be well served, if you take our M.F.A, or pass through the Gates of our PhD in Art practice" then you should not read this book.


Yet if your soul is of a solid enough constitution, or should you be interested, even, in what "art school" academics have to say about the future of "art school" academies, at all. Then this book is for you. Perhaps reading it will provide the same déjà-vu you had, all over again, at Basel's Liste, or Miami's Basel or was it London's Freeze? 


The anthology "manages" to effectively indicate endemic moods of speculative confusion concerning booming art markets and æsthetical intelectiod maxims proving: anything goes and the auction houses take the hindmost. By craniv boyd. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hans Ulrich Obrist, A Brief History of Curating, ISBN 978-3-905829-55-6 & ISBN 978-2-84066-287-7, Book report by craniv boyd.

Hans Ulrich Obrist, A Brief History of Curating, ISBN 978-3-905829-55-6 & ISBN 978-2-84066-287-7, Book report by craniv boyd.


The book is miss billed, for it is a short collection of interviews conducted with the Swiss born Curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, and with museum directors and Austellungsmacher (Innen). As one could have it, this concise focused grouping of talks about the career-paths and professional interests of men and women who direct or create art museums and thematic exhibitions with emphasis and or holdings in modern and present day art, could just as well be named, Transcribed Conversations with Influential Museum Staff, for example, and thereby provide a more accurate image of what this volume's contents are. The majority of the talks are in-fact a long format conversational précis of the Curriculum Vitæ, belonging to the interviewees; selected curators that: either Hans Ulrich Obrist found interesting & consented to be interviewed by him, or was on assignment for heavy weight New York City published art magazine Art Forum.


The late American, Anne d'Hornoncourt, former Museum Director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in Philadelphia the late Swedish, Pontus Hultén, the former Director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and Centre Georges Pompidou, in Paris, are two of the illustrious people profiled and both individuals share a vibrant passion for art, judging from the contents of each interview alone. Both interviewed Museum directors possess a common love for artists, emphasized with long-term professional relationships, and allegiances. Both museum directors each emphasize, at points their friendships with artists. The other explicit thing mentioned is study of art. 


Another attribute, if one reads this series of interviews from a lens of type casting, would be that many of the museum directors interview in a Brief History of Curating, elect to let the artworks, and therefore, the artists speak for themselves as it were, eschewing a limelight and composing in a manor that does justice to artworks and societal import of said works with, generally speaking, presentation methods that are stayed, allowing both art work to happen, and for a lively museum going experience. It seems that those museum directors who are scholars in the history of art are categorically supportive of collecting museums. Museums, for them, are sites of inspiration, and in Hultén's case a permanent collection is both a source of energy, and asset that provides sustainability for stormy changes of guard. This appreciation and reverence for permanent collections, is in stark contrast to other exhibition authors and independent curators without an art historical background, who like Seth Siegelaub, or Harold Szeemann, elect for more playful experimental and thereby heavy handed thematic exhibitions, one can gather from their statements, exhibitions which cast the curator in the rather unclear shifting role of impresario, arts manager, hat wearer, ect. The statements of those exhibition organizers, with the smaller charge of a Kunsthalle, a space with at times no permanent collection, no obligation and considerably less commitment than a collecting art institution, appear to, step to the fore in their authorship of an exhibition. As a loose group, some of the Kunsthalle directors interviewed for this book, favor more of a big impact, opting for a brand of intellectual sensationalism, or interactivity for an all too well informed public who just needs to know the name of whomever hung the Rauschenberg next to the Johns because that public of, Bern, Lausanne, Zürich, or Vienna for that matter, is more likely to own a Warhol or a Beuys than those, in Philadelphia who ascend the same iconic steps (albeit considerably less heroically, during opening hours) Sly Stallone as "Rocky" did on his morning jogging in the streets of Philadelphia captured on celluloid.


A Brief History of Curating, concerns itself with people who engineer to a certain measure a public's interface with art objects, individuals who see their charge at times to educate a public about art and by stewarding that encounter, allow the art to uplift people. As such, strikingly absent are images of exhibitions or illustrations of art works. People above the digital divide have search engines with their high-speed Internet connexions after all. The book and the conversations had could be viewed as what late nighttime television in the U.S.A. is to a Hollywood star, with an upcoming film release. However, my analogy fails to fit in that the banter is not over pleasures gained and lessons culled from working with S. Spielberg, or R. Scott, names like Duchamp and Van der Rohe and de Menil pepper the interviews, and what strikes the chord of base self promotion in the former is, vaunted æsthetical discourse in the latter, even if its original purpose was as part of a square shaped glossy monthly periodical you can purchase in a Kiosk. Another failing of my analogy that seeks to cast Hans Ulrich Obrist as a Johnny Carson type personality of the art world, is that many of the people speaking are at the time of interview conduction, old. They look back at lives full spent in the company of art, and discuss openly changes in political climates, their impacts on cultural policy, in post war Europe 1960's South America and North America from the 1930's to the near present.


In that the book makes conversationally available busy people, and also some deceased who worked in museums. All provide narrative of their lifetime achievements it is of interest if one wants to foster preliminary understanding on a transnational basis for what the concerns of personnel in leadership positions of museums of modern art are. This is one of the book's fascinating merits, a collection of people some of whom collect art for the public good, via the institutions they head.


History as such, no such luck, not in this book at least, from reading A Brief History of Curating, one suspects that the author Hans Ulrich Obrist would be capable of writing his life memoirs of the years 1998- 2011 with the key board functions of cut copy paste in a word processing computer program. By craniv boyd. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Based in Berlin is a project commissioned by Berlin’s Cultural Affairs Department, advised by Klaus Biesenbach, Christine Macel and Hans Ulrich Obrist

Based in Berlin is a project commissioned by Berlin's Cultural Affairs Department, advised by Klaus Biesenbach, Christine Macel and Hans Ulrich Obrist, organized by the Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH. Curators: Angelique Campens, Fredi Fischli, Magdalena Magiera, Jakob Schillinger, Scott Cameron Weaver. Artists: David Adamo, After the Butcher, Aids 3D, Akim, Özlem Altin, Julieta Aranda, Autocenter, Nina Beier, Rocco Berger, Gerry Bibby, Juliette Blightman, Erik Blinderman & Lisa Rave, Juliette Bonnevoit, Erik Bünger, Nina Canell, Nicolas Ceccaldi, Sunah Choi, Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maede, Kerstin Cmelka, Keren Cytter, Kajsa Dahlberg, Mariechen Danz, Giulio Delvè, Simon Denny, Michele Di Menna, Aleksandra Domanovic, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Köken Ergun, Evas Arche und der Feminist, Mattiash Fritsch, Kasia Fudakowski, Simon Fujiwara, Cyprien Gaillard, Galerie im Regierungsviertel / The Forgotten Bar Project, Tue Greenfort, Petrit Halilaj, Jan Peter Hammer, Alexander Hempel, Yngve Holen, David Hominal, HUSH HUSH, Invisible Playground, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Ilja Karilampi, Tobias Kaspar, Nina Könnemann, Asaf Koriat, Wojciech Kosma, Kitty Kraus, Oliver Laric, Alexandra Leykauf, Klara Lidén, Ilya Lipkin, Trevor Lloyd, Maria Loboda, Florian Ludwig & Owen Hoskins, Dafna Maimon, Ryan McLaughlin, Gareth Moore, Shahryar Nashat, Anne Neukamp, Ken Okiishi, Palmbomen, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Pantha du Prince, Amy Patton, Dirk Peuker, Ralf Pflugflder, PMgalerie, Agniesyka Polska, Roseline Rannoch, Mandla Reuter, Yorgos Sapountzis, Thomas Sauter, Lena Inken Schaefer, Ariel Schlesinger, Jeremy Shaw, Heji Shin, Timur Si-Qin, Dominik Sittig, Juliane Solmsdorf, Fiete Stolte, Jana Unmüßig, Danh Vo, Ming Wong, Helga Wretman Shingo Yoshida.  Atelierhaus Monbijoupark, 10178, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, 10117, Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum für Gegenwart, 10557, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein-n.b.k., 10115, Berlinischen Galerie-Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur, 10115,Berlin, DE  by, craniv boyd.



Once upon a time as the end of the urban depression and white flight that afflicted the isle of Mannahatta as the nineteen hundred seventies drew to a close, an art exhibition, in an non for profit partially government subsidized partially private funded, art exhibition space, a short run mythical exhibition took place that ushered in a kind of loose fitting much written about art movement that was no movement at all, that of the Pictures Generation, Cindy Sherman is grouped in this mythical exhibition often conferred retroactively with a certain predictive grace, despite her non participation, Robert Longo, and the Panama Zone born, and of late, more hotter,  Richard Prince, David Salle among others who were making works dealing with appropriation. Based in Berlin, a sprawling multi housed exposition, in a post twenty years of reunified Germany and a post fifty-years of the building of that physically concrete version of that iron curtain, is the setting for it, a order of dystopic worlds fair which, comes across, figuratively, as the "Objects Generation" in Hauptstaat, Berlin, 2011 to New York Cites, Pictures Generation of '77.  


This is an attempt with glaringly insufficient means available to the author, to write about eighteen of the participating artists, and to narrate, an experience of viewing had when in the company of their art works. 18, only as an associative, yet altogether programmatic, arbitrary limit, like a Brumier of sorts, not in an effort to change the calendrical system of a European Nation in revolt, but merely as a vehicle both, symbolically opaque, totally reappropriated again, and vaguely political like much of the work to be discussed in Based in Berlin, a mildly speaking, controversial exhibition.


One: Down with that pinko building


A team of pre middle aged men that are at times well past adolescence are standing on ladders chipping and carving away attired in dust masks for health and safety reasons, equipped with jack hammers, sledgehammers, mallets and chilsles, in an adhoc mötley assortment. The trained eye quickly gathers that this working men in MontBijou Park, are of a niche set, and not simply notdürftig from their consciously casual dress and varied rainbow skin pigmentation, we can see that this is no ordinary demolition team. They take their task with a slowed down, artful, theatrical languor, their ambient hammering away is a sound track of conceptual urban renewal in the hands or rather Mind via choreographed logistical skill of South African born artist Mandla Reuter, who has as his contribution to Based in Berlin Hired a team of local artists, in this case the title artist assistants or creative day laborers, would be more apt, young men of the freelance and footloose variety, to execute his exhibition stopping artwork in a behæmoth group exhibition. 


The work vies for attention in that it makes a reality, such as the pending demolition of the ætilier Haus MontBijou Park, that in a former life, was the work space annex of former East Berlin art Academy, Wiesensee, conveniently situated across the river banks from the Museum Island, obvious. This building shall be torn down at the close or near the termination of the exhibition, Mandla Reuter, takes the stance of, lets get a head start guys, and places thereby on view, a wrecking crew working to the pace of a slug. Dance theater happening atop ladders in real-time, where the performers make such a cacophony that their accompaniment permeates the building they scar with at times tools, not entirely foreign to those that Michelangelo, might have held whilst he authored David. This well tempered din, manages to aggravate the senses to the extent of producing an affect of, desperation, sinking ship uncertainty, panic and timely-ness, the rhythmic jack hammering and chiseling on a smallish modernist shoebox of a building is unrelenting in its attack on the actual re appropriated building that houses a segment of the generalist, open call, exhibition, Based in Berlin.   


Two: Phallus Envy


To jump-cut to another more singular location of Based in Berlin, sojourn to Berlinisches Gallerie just a few moments southeast of touristland, subheading "and how the east was won back untoward the west" or as it stands in guidebooks and maps Checkpoint Charlie. The Gallerie is a rather ominous huge white cube that received generous support as proudly display in a large black and white plaque by the entrance, donations for public art institutions seemed big in let say 2005 but as we can see on the plaque there are fewer and fewer names in 2007 or the last year displayed for the public is 2008 a paltry few of under a dozen givers give to, Berlinisches Gallerie, or perhaps after 2008 Berlinisches Gallerie just required less philanthropic assistance for its exhibitions and overhead expenditures? Rather dull fare all this, who gave how much and what year, I make mention of it only in leiu of the fact that it so happens to be decisively one of the first things you see or read on entering, this plaque rests between the main entrance and the hall where the café is, in other words improbable to miss.


Simon Fujiwara, UK born artist, in Phallusies (An Arabian Mystery), 2010, has his literary narrative installation tucked away in a hushed corner left hand side past the ticket desk of the Gallerie with Kunsthalle pretensions. Fujiwara provides a novel take on a humble entrance style portal. In the place of dyed lightweight cotton cleft in the center, as barrier for people about to transverse a threshold, there are heavy plastic bands common in light industry to limit or bar particle or temperature transfer, hanging acrylic, scenographically splattered with drying clay.


What follows after the second one takes to enter is the bastard progeny of the white cube and black box, a dimly lit environs cluttered at the corners floors and yes at times walls with all sorts of clues to a mystery fictive object, in this installation which the public is told can be understood and read as a treatment for a film that has yet to be made, the large missing object is a five meters long attic representation of the genitals of a Satyr. Clues in the first room are tobacco pouch with rolling cigarettes and rolling papers mid table with a wall mounted clock that poses a rather sexist rhetorical question "what do women know about shrinkage?" opposite this wall a poster with a topples photographed updated version of the water nymph fantasy.


Progress to a room with video projected on a pull down "classroom" screen wall mounted, that holds interview footage shot on video of men with obscured faces speaking in varied forms of the queens English, about a missing penis. The next room has low hanging utilitarian incandescent lighting with aluminum housing suspended and providing the light to see the archive or story board or display the contradictory evidence of a hand full of witnesses on the subject of the missing member. Eyes have adjusted to the dark and you look up for a moment and leaning against the wall you see a wooden shipping palette with an open set of large steel shears, pointing up, big scissors lurking in the shadows to invoke castration angst.  


At the last chamber of this ambitious four roomed story board in three dimensions, is the missing object, hovering a sand covered toppled pillar, it is on two metal mounts pained black that offer the supporting role, to the floating manhood, at above chest level, well clearing the floor decorated with sand, contributing the desired desert vibrations. All this may come across as a bit lavish for a work in process, solipsistic certainly, that is when metered with the expectations provided at the outset before the entering this impersonal ironic installation that gives clever clues.


Three: Catch of the Day


Shifting to the local of the exhibition with the word Berliners like to assign to people with rudimentary if not non-existent German language comprehension skills, Bahnhof. To see, on the level above ground level and the Sara Wierner Café/ Restaurant, are, Color field canvass painting as installed element caught in individually tailor fit fishing nets designed for big fish, a larger scale expansive work, that is inclusive of a baby grand piano, selections from a north European intellectual's library, on the baby grand with the lid closed, the more approachable but no less apparent, jacket of everyman's costume, displayed hanging on a hook on the wall, selected by Danish born artist, Simon Dybbroe Møller, in slate blue, wool or poly acrylic blend instead of thick grey Tatars felt as with the late Shaman of Kriefeld, J. Beuys. This artwork has a performer, perhaps he, on the day I occasioned to see the work, was, the artist himself. In a Sisyphean effort to go a great distance to make an endurance per formative work and be there, sitting down at the piano and counted, for the duration of the exhibition, to blur that frontier of art and life yet again but with more opacity, less dogmatically, hence unclaimed. The wall mount states flatly Performer, amidst the list of materials of the work, it does not read, Performer:the artist himself, so the public is left in the dark as to the identity of whom is showing up daily, for the course of opening hours to complete the circuit as mentioned per museological exhibition caption, of piano, books, performer ect.


Casual magic could be a subheading, there was something quite, vibrant in the gaze that the performer had with members of the public, the look of some one who is observing the public observing, the gaze of the performer was unusually studied, and there was a dearth of vacant boredom one finds more often then not among the people employed who are the eyes for the protocol of a museum exhibition. His gaze was one that house a kind of territorial or proprietary care, not unlike a mother Eagle tending to her nest of chicks.


Four: The Naked and the Decapitated


Two artworks, two divergent art exhibition venues, one exhibition, one artist, Based in Berlin Only. Could read a mobile device carrier friendly summary of Danish born Artist Nina Beier's contribution to Based in Berlin. At Kunst Werke Institute for Contemporary art, Beier has a wall painting that is restricted by form of the square cut away occulus, or rather faux atrium spanning levels two and three of the KW building. The "Nude" as many in North America might un-politically correctly, dub this color of paint, reason stands it is the complextion of a disrobed Barbie doll, and of course other, more humane, objects. This blank wall painting works as a strong barely there background color for an other artists take on Paris based Romanian modernist, C. Brancusi's Endless column, this time in wood, with wood shavings left insitu, the approximate or average shade of bare Caucasian flesh offsets the tone of bright untreated soft wood rather nicely.


The precarious appearing glass shelving at the other institution is supported by purchased objects sculptures and crafts largely African in appearance that have been taken to the band saw instead of the barbers. Nina Beir has assembled a variety of Dansk Møblekunst, meets appended treasures from the Kuniglige Etnografiskt Museet in Cophenhagen, that in addition to its bemusing and droll experience art environs, has sinister portent, albeit cryptically administered, when we look at what is on view, rickety glass furniture held up by disfigured art objects, by no means haphazard selection process from a Danish perspective, art from Africa.


In the 1980's, blame it on tourism, there was some kind of a revived nostalgia for the Virgin Islands which the U.S took off Denmark's hands way back in 1917, that decade thirty years ago, the 80's saw the publication of some more accessible studies in Danish of the Kingdom of Denmark's slaving history.  


For whatever reason I find the aggressive mishandling of these exemplars of African art, its apparent misshaping by the hands of N. Beier and, a doubtlessly fast-paced (look to the burn marks on the wood) rotary saw blade, and the matter of fact, just so, usage of said art, as feet, headless figurative caryatids in art that looks and pretends towards innocuous and non offensive, un-political Møbelkunst. I am not writing to say I currently take offense to this man handling, I just find the cavalier approach to be callous. 


Five: when I go the bar leaves with me


Remaining in the Hamburger Bahnhof instance there is one wall of group show within a group show. A Meta moment like Cervantes fiction within a fiction, or Shakespeare Play within a Play arraigned by that melancholic former resident of Elsinore. What in the Die Riegerungs Veirtel / The Forgotten Bar Project, is a quasi random selection of art works that were left behind in an artist initiative space. What happens on this wall with an almost archaic salon style horror vacui driven installed method many times until recent years vacant from contemporary art presentation, (look towards the Brucennial of the BHQF,for a this cramped overlapping method) the look is of the fragmentary, matter of fact, blending blurring variety in that it is could perhaps be the output of one mono-manic young artist who is hopped up on J. Beuys and the spirit of 1968.


It is more of a cross section of a cohort of more known names and personages of the Berlin or euro art landscape, not in our current state of globallity, exclusively European Union artists. We have Icelandic Pop artists stranded in Paris like Erró, Japanese conceptualists living in Manhattan like Yoko Ono, various professors of the German art Academies, John Bock, Katarina Sieverding, whom manages to exhibit with one of her spawn, Paula Sieverding, on the same wall, haphazard remnants, we are led to believe, from artists with gallery representations on both sides of the Atlantic ocean, a stark contrast towards, the newly minted or emerging talents that tend to clog the list of artists participating, yes of course there are some of the chosen artist who have represented their nations at one big ticket international Bienial, or another, but in the the Riegerungs Veirtel/ Forgotten Bar Project, we have some artists that are on permanent public display in their home countries, Art school tenured Faculty, and a select few like Yoko Ono who is as both John Lenon's widow and  conceptual artist, active in a 60's, post second World War Japan, a seminal member of that Avant Guard, Yoko Ono, is as close to a living legend as one could get, Ono, is presently often covered in art historical survey courses spanning the past 50 years in art making.



Six: Shelving for a movement


Strangely enough, yet another instance of exhibition within exhibition, occurs in a disparate, post-medium now commonplace ála R.E. Krauss, installation by artists collective, After the Butcher, that is thoroughly, conscientiously, and if not exhaustively credited, and meticulous, it is a portrait in its product design, typographic design, photo graphic design, and fine arts painting in as banal as you can get minimal tromp l'oie, behaving as simple text. The museums wall mounted standard flashcard sized A7, text of the exhibition completes and is subverted by, the framed behind glass, letter press printed movie credits or colophon more apt for the installation, which is eight framed photographs a wall of modular shelving, one oil on linen painting, and a beautifully framed print, all locally made.


Here we have a kind of playful artisanal minimalism that is clearly a byproduct of the connoisseur-ship or discerning taste inculcated by specialized advanced higher education at a design academy, a distant and polished vacuous advertisement not only for the singular authors of each part of this Gesamtkunstwerk, that is much more a display of locally active clientele dependant entrepreneurs who fabricate Gestaltobjekten. The work is sealed off in its own fragmentary studied happenstance, young-ish people on a bland blank scene barely coded as a "photo shoot" scenario are there, on set. The participants that are photographed, are taken and printed at unfamiliar disorienting angles, as if the photographer waited to capture some ones face with the telephoto lens as seen through, or beyond another person on set, in soft focus, who is not on the camera's plane of focus. The men could appear as clothed Kuroi updated with in one instance, Caucasian with super-long dreadlocks look, profoundly absorbed in the hurry up and wait alternating current that much of middle to high end "creative" labor entails these days.


After the Butcher's contribution, in the setting of the museum this installation is considered as one unit, or a totality, one work. Nevertheless it is clearly made of delineated discreet design components, named, described in one self-aware, self-reflective object, on card stock or, acid free archival paper. The object with the task of listing, that gives mention to the workshop where the diverse things were made, is authored by one of the interdisciplinary group inclusive of artist assistant, framer, and painter. Everything is presented in the stayed manor that would not be strange on a wedding invitation, mailed out by the parents of the bride, the un-hierarchical distinction-less listing of different members of the gænus of the creative caste are possible Bachelors if we are bring this into a Duchamp frame of thinking. We have overtly superficial objects pretending towards one cohesive work of art, rather than ready made (industrial object) and decisively silent artist, we have group conception (high-end elitist things) and willfully distant unit production manager.


Seven: rest in quietude


An artist duo, man, woman, Erik Blinderman, and Lisa Rave, with both private and public funding from that region of Germany that was at one time, a part of Denmark, have made a half-hour duration video loop that is a digital transfer from sixteen millimeter film, of a semi exotic tropical gated community founded by a man with the name Schwartz, on a tropical Island not too far off the shore of Florida.


The production team we shall presume was minimal, and at times, perhaps a veritable skeleton grouping, occasional during the mostly wordless film, we here the directions of a Anglo-phone or a Saxon voice, saying cut or play it again Sam, if you will what ever low to no budget flexible independent artist directed film/ producers choose to tell their cast of, non actors in, a cinematic work as The Villages, 2011, do. This work seeks to blur and reaffirm some kind of medium specificity that is perhaps a fetish of the initiated, texture and tonal expressive range of light in shadows of film stock opposed to manageability, accessibility and flexibility that video offers.


The look of film is dated, and the rosy hue of the Kodak, AGFA or Fuji color film stock, is perhaps to the strongly, ever increasing, technically cognizant alumni, of multiple film and television academies the world over, ascertainable from the look of the exposure and frame rate or the quality of the digital scan, apparent what kind of camera the duo utilized, brings to mind video aficionados who can tell between Sony High Definition and Panasonic High Definition. If you ask the question Bolex, or Arriflex, you may pass the gates and enter towards more multiple, and or but not exclusively formalistic readings, or viewings in this matter.


On a content level we have in the first frames a rather structured and detached holiday footage approach, rusting beached small fishing vessel in a warm climate, white folk of Eurasian descent fully clothed with hats and sunglasses snapping away at a trite or picturesque rusting utilitarian ship in the topics. The camera looks at these people looking and in the subsequent documentary, national geographic approach we a looking at banal, segment of a middle class, Former Veterans and American Service men women, filmed at a great distance, due to the paltry usage of close up footage, broad strokes, at if to say of look at these strange retired conformists! Spartan instances where close takes are used is to show a migrant or displaced African heritage worker, putting his break time, from his construction work of building the gated community, to a kind of purposeful and diligent free time activity, he carves a decorative bead out of a material that looks like ivory.


The Villages, as an experimental film, employs a clear rhetoric of occidental minimalism, which in many ways covers no new ground, just shows things like clues for some kind of unspoken visual argument.


Eight: A semi sonorous techno radio television fantasy station


A dypthic of liquid crystal display televisions leans side to side, next to one another, on the floor, against the white cube space, of NBK, Neue Berliner Kunstverien, in Berlin center city, yet another venue, for Based in Berlin, the same venue where the afore mentioned work The Villages is displayed.


The state of the art home entertainment panels, have long cables and headphones two again, so you can view 19:30, the work, of Aleksandra Domanovoc, as a pair, or if single with the abstract hope of attracting or flirting with whom ever pick up the head set as you watch or, to pick up the studio ear phones and share the viewing of the work with a stranger.


We have a work that is carefully negligent in its installation, just set those flat screens displays, on the floor over there why don't you. What is heard on the head set is electronica at a heart rate raising speed disco tempo, and seen at times on the flat screens is, voyeuristic found footage of young men with chemically tinted coiffures, gesturing isolated yet together, like an island chain, in some kind of an open space. A rave scenario, a kind of open style drug addled massive type of party, a youth culture phenomena, or is the raving set referred to as a subculture?


Baggy parachuting pants, glowing plastic objects, tight cotton infant tee shirts, candy colored jewelry all happen to be parts of more classic or standard of the Raver garb. 


This hip or trendy or niche set content behaves as camouflage as first impression for the remainder of the MTV or VIVA esque work, it is a genealogy of the identity in the meaning that the graphic designer applies to that word, of a group of regional television and radio stations in the Balkans. The changing of the look of the 30 second television spot from stations in Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia Herzegovina are all historically presented in a vibrant, casual chaotic form, that may strike many viewers of the artwork, as informal and therefore dismiss the Aleksandra Domanovoc, as inchoate, but it, is in this impersonal archival presentation of obsolete television identities, and a counter drive with, a hermetic all so region and popular culture specific, both references retain, despite their all their periodic visibilities in a mainstream visual culture, a truly personal idiosyncratic selection process that is contrary  to a clinical showing of how communications stations in the former Yugoslavia, developed and altered their look, over the span of the nineteen fifties, until the present.


Aleksandra Domanovoc, as an artist makes an associative leap, that in some ways feels like a salve for some deep regional trauma, glossing over with techno music, the Balkans, and in the found television pan, of a pristine urban skyline on a sunny day, footage that has the look and taste of saturated Beta, or VHS tape, from the early nineteen nineties, the what of what footage is shown is rife with mystery, some kind of a didactic approach to the work is decidedly absent. It is perchance enough to raise awareness, or political committed enough, just to edit a video loop with found materials from the regional television stations from a place where ethnic cleansing and war rape transpired, not so long ago.  


Nine: people of the waste


In the same zone, from the physical address, common exhibition room, sameness genre, medium, and display method that is in one case the same and in the other different, we have urban blight and the economic crisis force feed back to us much in the way that K. Kolwitz might have, had she seen the films of Michigan born M. Moore, or knew how to operate a 3ccd iris high definition video capture device, to illustrate, the plight of people in Berlin. Nina Könneman, takes us___ with a pair of video works, Sommerleute, 2009, the ten minute duration sans soundtrack, full-wall projected, sixteen by nine wide screen format, and the smaller shorter four minute loop with a track, Kraft unseres Amtes,2011,____ to Berlin, Alexanderplatz.


No F. Beiberkopf, to be found here in either work, there is no Snautze with his hart on their shirt sleeve, rather we have a group of acutely aware scavengers who huddle around rubbish bins, in wait for that discarded plastic or glass bottle, to collect the Pfand some Grozschen for recycling, taking it to the point of occupation.


The antiseptic and distant woman documentarian, the moving images author, with video camera, a sensitive machine eye, looking at people who decide to hang around waiting for their plastic bottle to come in, whom are gazing and beholding the unaware public that drinks Römerquelle, Fanta or Sternberg, in the summer and lets go of their waste, has elected herself to pick a rather narrow path of documenting people in public who, depending on what the viewers proclivities might or may not appear, unsavory. Here are for the large part men who have their ungloved hands in the trashcans near that public square close to the base of Berlin's television tower, all day long.


I correct it is less the author that may be characterized as sanitary or hygienic, but rather with what means this updated version of socalisticaly committed realism comes into existence as an artwork, and as an object for public contemplation in the domain of current art exhibition. Video, a time based medium, technologically dependant, that as for the moment you cant touch, feel or smell. A. Huxley's sensation of the Feelie, a more real than real diversion, a group pornographic spectacle, where the public can "feel every hair on the bearskin rug" in his modern classic about brave worlds, has it, touch motion pictures is delegated to some distant future, going to the movies and having physical sensations which players on screen might have.


One may be thankful that the smello'vision, is not happening here, but as for hearing, that other, often overlooked sense, we do and can in the video loop from 2011. German-language rap rock fusion music is the track, the musicians are shamefully omitted from the museum wall plaque, oddly enough in the gallery or not for profit subsidized alternative art venue, as this video loop on flat screen with head phones is shown with more politically charged and societal damning themed works, at NBK. You could hope for a print out of the lyrics for the rap song on the wall or a name of the group that authored a rather progressive or forward thinking sub pop music, but this exhibition is in Berlin, Germany, and many Germans view Lyrik as something that the Greeks and Romans way back when, those ethnicity's were in labor pains of the rather big baby, of western civilization. I think that it compromises the meaning of the entirety of work, not to have this information, since, or as a courtesy for those viewers who are unused to hearing rap music, no less in German, viewers may have an intuition that the fast diction of the angry sounding young male, set to the beating cadence of hip hop, might be of some tangential importance to what is shown on screen. It stays a hunch. Yes subtitles in English in the picture plane might be heavy handed or overkill, all things considered a viewership remains un-blissfully ignorant of the works portent, the exhibition is titled rather decidedly, in the English language, what stands to reason for the lack of a translation of a wordy German passage in a video artwork presented to the target public of international art cognoscenti? Overwork? Time sensitivity? Desire not to have the Video artwork to look like displaced found material or a music video on VIVA? What the shorter more recent video shows us how an increasing number people some who don't look "ugly", two years since, the first longer meditation of scavenging poor in Alexanderplatz, are collecting the bottles and using the new red machines in supermarkets, to print out a bar code on a slip of paper for just how many Grozschen and Marks they receive for their abilities to find, collect and return their reusable waste.



Ten: avant-ante secondhand


Returning, to Montbijou Park, or to arrive at where in the park, with more accuracy, a scaffold platform four stories above the building housing that station of the exhibition, there is an artwork that proffers an inflated æsthetic of J. Koons in the late nineteen eighties of New York City. Titled (NAME OF WORKEHERE), by (NAMEOFARTISTNOW), is like the vast percentage of artworks shown in Based in Berlin, authored this year in lieu of this exhibition, it consists of: four midsized Jeeps, from a local car dealer ship, parenthetically bracketed fore and aft by floor mounted neon lights, surrounded in a loose circle by light weight ink jet printed on fabric hammock style, lounge lizard chairs, wobbly self supporting as they are made of formed metal conduit, painted white.


Of the cars: Many have seen cars before, Jeeps are notorious, in the green mindset, for their inefficient expenditure of fossil fuels, therefore, some hold that Jeeps are an extravagance in an urban stetting, ie: there is no need for four wheel drive on the cobbled streets of Berlin, and that people who purchase Jeeps are reprehensible, or worse greedy, because they fail to take heed of the uncomfortable truths that former Vice President, and Nobel læurate A. Gore, speaks about in his much acclaimed environmentalist documentary.  Four Cars.


Of the lights: A rather consitant display method that is now borrowing strongly, from 60's and 70's D. Flavin, to the Pre New series of Hoover Vacuüm cleaning solutions enshrined in plastic, of that bright sunny smiled Pennsylvanian, Jeff. This lighting system one could hope is a kind of site-specific surreal urbane commentary on the changing head space of Berliners, instead of wrapping an important dilapidated government building, now a days, artists elect to present illuminated Jeeps floating above the low rising buildings in the night sky of Berlin. Julian La Veridiere could perhaps eat his heart out because the light beam in night sky, that in his work is pensively brilliant, and award winning, a solution that addresses complex public issues with trauma and hope with ultra bright lights. Yet I strongly doubt that. La Veridiere, to my awareness does not hold a patent on electric light beamed in the nighttime, and in this instance we have (nameofartisthere) utilizing light to show people cars, all too quotidian, with out any healing power, a rather derivative, vacuuos, I hate to say it employment of lighting design.



Of the chairs: there are some graphic design colorful prints on chairs for people to rest and contemplate the cars, the chairs have a kind of computer program virtual flat texture, a ink jet decorative fuzz to them, yes they provide a functional usage, lounge chair, grouping of two or three to support discussions amongst one-selves. If your visit coincides just after an early summer thunder and showers micro storm, it rains a lot in Germany, than the lounges chairs are a flaccid dripping wet disappointment, the hammock cloth has not had the change to back in the sun an warm up for your fatigued through massive viewing of mega promoted group exhibition, via word of mouth the ultimate manna, of public relations.


Of the station: high up in the sky we have neither bird, plane, nor superman, we have four cars, one wishes for a symbolic allegorical reading but jeeps are not really harbingers of the end of days, like four horsemen, are they? Cars on a provisional scaffold, floating way up there and giving you a way up panoramic view of the quickly rejuvenating and cosmetically enhanced center city Berlin just a stones throw from the boutiques of Hakescher market a bottle neck of open air city as shopping mall. With all the candy colored and proliferation of graffiti and aerosol art, one hopes, that the heterogeneous club house, spunkyness persists, but alas, the German word for building renovation is in the English language, a false cognate evoking hygiene and waste management.  From the rather large perch with all the Jeeps and lounge chairs you may be so lucky as to see it happen.


Eleven: Urbi et Orbi

In the den of Kunst Werke, the same room that housed "architecture as hangover",(see my version of Cyprian Gillard) , we have after the conception of a west coast Canadian artist, Jeremy Shaw, a super slow ambient contemplative work, coupled with wry reappropriation, via the reissue, and reprinting of a Berlin, local and international cult Classic the film poster of die Kinder der Banhofzoo.


Footage from what appears a dance off of some kind of a suburban, stale and middle class version of middle class entertainment at its apogee, Hardcore or Emo sub culture. If you require a translation to the jargon, moshpit, then chances are you will be left frustrated by this sensitive elegy in the form of two channeled extra large video projection on free standing walls, of some of youth in today's British Columbia. There are some tentative attempts and false starts at crowd surfing, lots of flailing arms and slow motion posturing that in the big expanse of the video work, all this set to ambient Brian Eno-esque wordless music composed by the artist.


Central video work of a fictive concert crowd dancing, poster action that spirals out virulently over the fabric of Berlins urban environs. The Vatican here in this conceit is one of personal-freedom. It is at hand, momentarily over the duration of the exhibition, and more or less in tapestry of divergent memories of spectators who viewed it. The arms extending out, are pervasive, meaningless advertisement for the re release of a cult classic insider film with the man who fell to earth depicted, seventies style with an German actress playing a pubescent Heroinista, Bowie in that film sings his Tutoneciszed edition of Helden, nothing can keep these two parts of the work of Jeremy Shaw together. 


 Twelve: give us your huddles


Two fingers a thumb, and a part of the eternal flame of liberty and the nub of the torch, recreated to scale by Vietnam born, Danish childhood, Yet Frankfurt am Main trained artist Danh Vo, the Fredricanium in Kassel shall host a more completed edition of this big budget recreation of one of the acme of Franco-America relations, that gift for the centennial of that civil engineering feat, and allegory of inspiration the lady in brown who with time became the lady in green that greeted and still greats so many who make that passage to Ellis island.  After a photograph the structure skin, we have Lady Liberty redeaux, and in that recreation of a forward looking moment of the celebration of ideals and diplomacy that the United Stats held in common with France, the work evocative, and a charged work begging for reëxamination of those ideals, let us say the hand of lady Liberty is re staged, as a concession stand and meeting point for the Based in Berlin, I don't know about you guys but the gift that France gave the states was about freedom, I suppose we as a global culture are at a new era of personal freedoms were artists born in Phu Quoc, and Based in Berlin, can flatly trivialize historical international diplomatic symbolic gifts, in the service of "give me a international artist curriculum vitæ or give me death" drive, the catalogue is quick to mention that this work will be shown in Kassel at one of the institutions of the Doccumenta, some how this historical temporary post-modern acceptance of rather trite conventional forms for current, up to date artistic expression: allegory, is crass in Hessen that western state of the Bündesrepublik that tore down a Brutalist stair case to nowhere, from a previous Doccumenta in the middle of the night because it simply looked or smelled bad. The hand of lady liberty re staged temporarily is ok.


Thirteen: shred of architecture


German born Kitty Kraus one of the other young artist contenders for the 2011 edition of the Berlin Art Award, has made a Berlin specific minimalistic, ironic and wry sculpture that in the choice of materials, found urban detritus, smacks of Gordon Matta Clark the vernacular building splitter, son of the South American painter and architect Roberto Matta. But with Kitty Kraus's sculpture in KW, a section of ground floor window shade, that hangs from the grey woven nylon band, part of the mechanism that helps the complete and utilitarian version work when installed in a window, the sense of humor and appreciation for the quotidian, has a more subtle, nevertheless tougher vibration. In other words, the hanging fragment of window shade, that is old, grey, and soot covered, is part of the changing cosmetic appearance of Berlin, it looks incomplete. One could have the same critique of the fragmentary nature of a piece or remnant of G. Matta-Clark's office baroque, and like works where parts of commonplace low-end architecture are cut up humorously, but in Krauss's sculpture, the mode of presentation is more lyrical, hanging bending resting on the verge of collapse on the floor, and less sensationalistic and cult of personality driven, cleaving a suburban home in two with a chainsaw, as G. Matta-Clark does for a kind of wild man with a brilliant idea and a loud sounding cutting tool, affect.


The work hangs from a nylon band, and in the sculptures hanging, elegant installation solution as it is, it is a far cry from how a painting would hang. Although blatant and matter of fact as this point may seem, this work is not pleasant to look at, its ugliness is both reserved and aggressive at the same time. Super minimal finding undertaken by Kitty Krauss, the careful sawing of the metal retractable nighttime safety shade, and showing hard-edged abstraction hanging limply from the ceiling curling on to the floor.


A work that is both succinct and relevant. All too current view of many-things both German, and Berlin it happens to be one of the rare instances in this exhibition where Berlin specific sculpture bears some progressive development in a genealogy of post war, brilliant German artists who happen to be women working with physically tough three dimensional objects things that are decidedly a bit more substantial and difficult than a revanch of macho expressionist painting.


Fourteen: distressed Canvass


Anne Neukamp, has the most substantial paintings in this exhibition. In terms of size, the paintings could be placed on the mid spectrum of large vertically oriented rectangular format. The linen is stretched over a lightweight thin wooden support. The work is a moment that although authored by a young woman from Germany who viewers should hope, as I do, is now at the start of a productive life as a relevant painter, makes work that give late B. Marden, snakes in a bag type works, a run for his money, I put it this way because Brice, has a strong evening sales presence and career survey, held in top floor galleries of the new building of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, on his exhibition curriculum vitæ, one could presume that as an artist he has a great deal of it by now.


The activity of sanding the surface of the oil paint, as Anne Neukamp, does working a H. Hoffman push pull, but with desaturated grey zone colors that in their understated curvy geometric abstraction viewed in the light of the pervasive ubiquity of ærosol on building, or kinetic Schnelbahn cabin, retain tangential cues thereof. Anne Neukamp and her paintings are so much, the more sensible and considered, contrary yet holding some of that short term territorial immediate gratification, often found of Spray-paintings in Berlin. Some hold that Spray Painters have similar drives, that an artist living and working as Dog with the medium of urine on Parisian lamppost does. How the latter can with many generations of like canine effort, and the same action, pissing, have a damaging corrosive effect, that compromises the structural integrity of cast iron public street lighting, so much for your precious wiederstand.


This series of paintings is, by far, the most conclusive, mature, solid and therefore complete painted artwork in the exhibition.


Fifteen: Le weïrdo amercain


There is a love of spots and hermetic fashion design and semiotic code and, to many Europeans, a Slugger from Louisville might sound like a provincial America (no offence Louisville) who derives pleasure from fisticuffs, not a sculpted wooden hallmark of a North American childhood spent on sporting events. One could hope a Japanese would appreciate the work with an appropriate measure of reverence and nostalgia, since 1945, they really seem to enjoy Baseball big time.


The relative un-intelligibility of this artwork in the North European context is a quizzical anathema. I doubt that Ryan McLaughlin enjoys coming across as a regional artist, seeing as He has his art training in Rhode Island, and is still making art works, one can be almost positive that McLaughlin is adept at verbally defending, and elucidating the heritage and plausible cultural heritage of his work.


I see, a patchwork of white and cotton tee shirts, hanging like pægent flags from base ball or softball bats, which ever your sports orientation, mounted above head-level, in a celebratory moment that brings cotton, folk art via the quilting of the shirts, and invented sports, that speak of the wide open plans and continental unit of the U.S.A. Baseball is perhaps the quintessence of the States a sport with strong hetero coding, and possible Homo fetish that many would never ever dign to talk of, especially not on the Fox news channel G** forbid, an expansive Tiered, Dual Major Leagues, that support or encourage fandom and merchandise industry, ephemera in the form of collectible cards with vitals and performance statistics that like and unlike stamps is the first archive or hoard if you will, a child in the United states more often male than female will have. And it is a rather odd prospect, the world plays Football America Soccer, the World Series is a cathartic male pægent type of event that transpires every-year, every base ball season, on American soil, and is the culmination of a long and drawn out tournament where the game is appears perpetually on tonight.  Un-like tennis, world class individual hermit athletes flying solo or in doubles, baseball is a team sport, and with its innings, at bat, bases and strikes and Umpires is a rather byzantine, coördinated group sport that is heavy on abstract thinking and light on physical contact, unlike the native American derived Lacrosse. As such baseball, like golf, has potential to be played by an entire U.S. family with Grandpa on Third and Stacy sliding into Home, after Mom bunted the fastball Dad pitched and scuttles off to first non Americans practically need a bluffer notes, to understand, no less ask who is on first?


Sixteen: no smoking please, in the canary cage


 In a work titled XXXXX by French born artist XXXXXXX, there is a stuffed toy teddy bear hanging from a chain of safety pins from a cross beam of a low-end pet store. As reason for why you would search for this frugal material moment of stuffed Bear suicide, in the first place is that, when entering the floor of, Kunst Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, where this exhibition is, you as a viewer see your image in real-time, moving projected off kilter on the wall, via what for recent generations accustomed to cosmopolitan life in the developed world, like London, via the security camera. The younger you are, perhaps the more acclimated you are to being flung into a big brother scenario, G. Orwell or television, take your pick, the quicker you find that the camera is in the eye of the hanging tan bear. Unobtrusive and yes, quizzical, a diorama that takes your picture and looks like a prank to boot.



Drawn closer to the work, by a hook of sorts, seeing yourself projected on the wall, you find that Panopticon Bear with Suicidal Tendencies, has a partner, a pair, in the form of another cage. Both cages are on low rising pedestals in this cage, we see a mechanical reproduction of a winter scene, of two Cowboys riding horses, no it is not a film still of Ang Li's film Brokeback Mountain, 2006 starring the lat Heath Leager and the talented Mr. J. Ghyllenhal, but rather two other men that look like they should be smoking. Rugged out doors on the floor of a birdcage cotton in the pose of cobwebs, as a reminder of what exactly? Refashioning of early pre Spiritual America, R. Prince, are when caged, spiderweb generative. Where there are spiders and cobwebs there is dust. Or it could be a reminder of a fairy tale of North American sexual intolerance and consumerism, via clear oral fixations and addictive habits, a nineteen 80's or 70's vintage advert for rolled and filtered tobacco. 


This is a kind of passive and false interactivity and although it titillates a healthy form of narcissism in the exhibition public as the look at this strange work and find them selves thrown skewed right back into its midst, we see that perhaps though on the other side of the cage and free to move about, our picture, or pictures in this case, have been taken by the hung bear. Our participation in this event is restricted by (name of artist) to public who views strange work, making for, yet one more moment of a candid camera scenario,


Ha-ha! I have caught you looking at my artwork!


Seventeen: look Mom no Hands!


Back in Montbijou park there is a process oriented work, authored by Trevor Llyod, that in the title of the work itself Portrait of my mother drawn with my eyes closed, left handed standing on my head, preëmptively tells you both how the work was created and gives a hint to a prevalent sensibly of this object heavy exhibition. Drawing when existent must tell an ironic, self-reflextive tall tale about the personal subjectivity of the artist. Anti drawing and anti Author hood are deliberately contradicted in the mea culpa for the thick handed monstrosity of graphite on paper the artist shows on the wall.


Funnyman antics of showing Mom as monstrosity, or oddly enough, humane and charming if you grew up in a place like the illustrated children's books of M. Sendak , it is a small almost derisive work in that as drawing it could be both claimed as after the fact per formative, and masterpiece of yet another man who takes A. Kaprow's  postulate of blurring art and life one step beyond.


However, the mother of the artist is presented to the public on an A4, in a work that confronts the assumption of the viewer as person in possession of little tolerance of  work that their own child could make. The work, as drawing on A4, contributes more in the way of heterogeneous diversity of artistic practices for the exhibition, it looks great as graphic design element, next to the "Hot Mamicita" from the cold north in Bike helmet and Sunglasses, or "Dr. Dre" on the posters concurrently pervading Berlin's streets.


Come see the show it is inclusive, of Nordic Blonds, Rap icons, and sardonic illustrations in pencil on paper.


Eighteen: coin club


David Hominal, in a series of small portable brown coins one and two Euro cents, we have modular, bad painting that is societal commentary on the current economical crisis. A Warhola, working with small, 50 x 50 cm, square formatted canvasses, minting his own money in studies with means of expressionistic-realist formulaic painting authored by the hand of the painter, instead of squeezed through a silken screen with a squeegee in the hands of a trusted rotating door of inter-changeable assistants. It is not a an over blown middle format painting of the might Five Hundred Euro Bank note that we see, or lots of real paper money, reflective of the paintings relative price glued to a surface of a canvass, like in work of Norwegen Born artist, J. Christiansen, These paintings could be seen as sensitive or insensitive portrait of the kind of money that many can be conditioned to find an inconvenienced, a minor annoyance. Coin police, as some one close to me likes to call them, asking if you may perhaps have one or two euro cents, Vellicht? Which is rather characteristic occurrence of Berlin, which is resolutely, a cash not plastic, capital.


It is not hard to follow that the paintings that David Hominal, showed with their melding of expressionism, crisis commentary, money and portability on that all to hallowed ground of pigments suspended in linseed oil on woven duck or Belgian Linen, is adroit and let us say poised for capture in this group exhibition that for all its controversy and big budget art works is more of the Biennial track works and less for the private Wünderkammer of those people who love are and frequent Berlin and who still have wherewithal and a budget for their respective climate adjusted warehouses, and storage spaces.




The exhibition, Based in Berlin, is chaotic, for the large part it exposes an overwhelming majority of unfinished artworks to a confused public, duly ignorant.


Based in Berlin, is a Multi venue morass, that seemingly novel in its selection and commissioning of new artwork, remains grounded in nineteenth century central European, traditions of display for modern art, the salons of Paris, held in the Louvre, and their ensuing controversy. Big Exhibitions that are spoken of, parodied and deemed events are distinct by-product of pretension of a State for the title of World or occidental capital, by generating and supporting the arts, to appear central.


The individual artists, the representative artworks that are discussed in the above report, range on spectræ of finished-ness, derivation and last but not least thereof, quality.


Finished-ness could be measured against final intent and communicative purpose, of the artwork in the mind of the artist. The current presentation as brought to bear against the wish of the artist.


Derivation is asserted by comparing sources, or styles that individual artists self elect to work with. Granted, there many directions this can go, the one that has concerned me in this report, however is to what extent is the clarity of the quotation marks that bookend the artists selected source material. How apparent is the working method an extension of another artist's Gimmick of the twentieth century?


Quality is for me, at the moment of writing this; and when judging, as with this exhibition, artwork fabricated by artists so soon after an arts academy education, a compound of Finished-ness, measure of Derivation, and of course that increasingly rare instance when an artwork is made with a high percentage of the artist Her or His selves. Fomulæc approach for algebraic curatorial practices. by craniv boyd.