Monday, April 2, 2012

The Value of Water: September 22, 2011-March 25, 2012 The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, New York. by craniv boyd.

The Value of Water: September 22, 2011-March 25, 2012 The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, New York. by craniv boyd. 

The Value of Water: Featured Artists: Alan Michelson, Mandy Greer, Trenton Doyle Hancok, Don Eddy, Dian Burko, Winn Rea, Kadie Saifi, Norman Lundin, Chrysanne Stachecos, Gregory Amenoff, Dixie Peaslee, Ray Charles White,  Robert Berlind, Janet Nolan, Gulsen Calik, April Gomik, Victoria Vesna, Gregg Schlanger, Mark Rothko, Terisita Fernadez, Kiki Smith, Nobuho Nagasawa, WIlliam Kentredge, Fredricka Foster, April Gormik, Dulce Gomez, Alice Dalton Brown, Samantha Scherer, Bill Viola, Mac McGill, Leigh Behnke, Florence Neal, Pat Steir, Michelle Loughlin, Rosarie Appel, Terry Tempest WIlliams, Ben Roth, Felicia Resor,  Winn Rea, Sonam Dolma Brauen, Jose "Tony" Cruz, Robert Longo, Laura McCallum ,Jenny Holzer Water&Light Project, Daniel& Jonathan. September 22, 2011-March 25, 2012 The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, New York. 

The Cathedral church, on Amsterdam Avenue, was the recent home of an exhibition titled the Value of Water. A thematic exhibition where the central protagonist is non other than water. The exhibition was curated by one of the participating artists, Fredricka Foster, who selected a wide array of artists who respond to the subject matter of water. A deep sense of urgency concerning the worlds waters, and their pollution, is conveyed in the brochure that accompanied this bloated exhibition. Bloated in the aspect that almost any artist, whom the curated knew to deal with water, was included. The exhibition could be understood as a petition arguing for the preservation of the environment, made by artists. As in mass protests, concerns are more of a quantitative than qualitative nature. An impression gathered, is that there is the affect of strength in the numbers of the participating artists in, The Value of Water,  and that individual artworks, and installations, suffer as a result, because they are subsumed in the larger opine of , Please Care More about Water and the Environment. The organizer of the exhibition, Fredricka Foster has more in common of the activity of obtaining signatures for a referendum, rather than an active selection process of art works that drive at the crux of the worth of H2O. 

In many of the chapels and niches in the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world, the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, there were art works placed in unexpected places and heights, hidden as it were in plain sight. The plan of the exhibition, provided visitors with the names of the forty six participating artists, and the locals of where their art was hung. Great numbers of the smaller scaled  artworks, were visually lost in the cavernous building, and the map, in its aid as Goose-chase or Treasure-Hunt solutions-service-provider, was invaluable, in the identification of which objects to be in awe and admire. 

A convincing selection in the exhibition was the non figurative painting of Pat Steir. A moody large format painting, with many white drips on a black ground, easily permits the association of waterfall or falling water, the title Waterfall of the Fundaments, obviates what viewers are supposed to make of the abstracted painting. The presentation of a series of animated video artworks the South African artist WIlliam Kentredge, was well displayed. An enclave with a free standing screen, speakers  and an aluminum girder housed the well tempered lighting arrangement, in service of the projected videos.  However, the overriding concerns of Kentredge's oeuvre extend well beyond, water alone. 

Poorly served by the installation in a chapel were oddly enough, smaller works on paper by the late Mark Rothko. Quite easily the most valuable art works in the exhibition, for their sale price. As appearance would have it, that these works were selected simply because they were the color blue.  The work Three Women, 2008, by the artist Bill Viola was another instance where the theme of water was pushed well beyond acceptable limits. Three women that walk away from a High definition video camera, slowly. The flat-screen panel that showed this movement of the ladies, was vertically displayed. The women perhaps an allusion to the three graces, walk in a shallow pool of water, in a motion of elegant triple rejection. 

The drollest art work, was that of Fountain Bottles 2004-2008, by the artist Janet Nolan, who collected fountain water from well known public fountains. All of the claimed water was bottled, in clear bottles labeled with a line drawing of their fountain of origin, and words in blue, naming where the water was bottled. A wry play on bottled drinking water and the market fetish manna surrounding spring waters. 

The innovative approach, showing  art  made in today's era, by living artists, in a building of worship, is commendable. The contemplation, that is offered in a house of worship is decidedly other than the climate of contemplation provided by many art dealerships, or museums. That the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, would commit to art projects and thematic exhibitions by living artists, is an affirmation a positive impact art has on the here and now. by craniv boyd. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

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