Showing posts with label curating. Show all posts
Showing posts with label curating. Show all posts

April 24, 2014

whitney biennial

After reading countless reviews,
and now that all the hoopla is over with, 
I finally made it to see the Whitney Biennial in person. 
(I know I'm a little late on the bandwagon...)

This year each floor of the museum was curated by a different curator, so I have to say it was a little tough going in with unbiased eyes. I've been a big fan of Michelle Grabner, the curator of the fourth floor, for a while now, taking some cues from her inspiring life of teaching, exhibiting, curating, raising kids, etc. Her Suburban was a huge influence when I opened my own suburban art gallery a few years ago. 

For what it's worth, I tried my best to be as impartial as I could.

view of fourth floor

I'm not usually much of an optimist so I started at the bottom floor with the idea of saving the best till last. Although I kinda liked Charlemagne Palestine's sound installation in the stairway,

I could've easily saved my tired feet, went straight up to the fourth floor and called it a day. 

It's taken a second look back at some of the work on the lower levels to keep myself from getting too repugnant, but if you haven't seen the show yet, to quote Jillian Steinhauer from Hyperallergic, "you won't be too put out, turned off, or riled up."

There were a lot of forgettable pieces in this show, mainly the entire second floor.

Charline Von Heyl
Charline Von Heyl, who I am a fan of, had some nice yet underwhelming black and white collages, and I struggled to stay focused on Rebecca Morris' paintings.

view of Rebecca Morris' paintings

Floor three was a little more lively. I didn't completely mind Ken Okiishi's painted video screens, however there were some major problems. 

view of Ken Okiishi's work

Bjarne Melgaard's multi-media room filled with mannequins and videos fell very flat especially after reading the sign on the doorway warning of explicit sexual and violent content. There seemed nothing sexy or violent about it and it came off rather staged and artificial, although maybe that was the point.

If the Biennial is meant to represent the most relevant artwork of our time, than perhaps in this case our time was well documented. I'm just not happy being overloaded with a lot of noise and media and absolutely no substance. Rather than regurgitate the noise back to us why not make some art out of it?

At some point I just wanted to yell at the artists, "give me more than just your obsessive compulsions!"

"Talk to me in a language that merits a deeper investigation, that warrants being put under the glass and scrutinized."

By the time I got back around to the elevators I found myself looking everywhere for something I could sink my teeth into. I was feeling overwhelmed with lackluster confusion.

As a whole the third floor felt rather disjointed, and it bothered me that the curator's statement made it seem like this was his intention. You can't posture a whole show with mish mash just because you claim that mish mashing everything together is your intention. It doesn't make it work any better.

In contrast, and I just can't help it, I thought the fourth floor had a better flow and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although there were rooms that were jam packed, there were also some quieter rooms with plenty of space. When it all works together, that's called dynamics and I thought this show had it.

Sheila Hicks

I had a slew of favorites: ceramics by Sterling Ruby, Ricky Swallow's sculptures, video by Jennifer Bornstein, Jacqueline Humphries, Sheila Hicks, Zoe Leonard's room size camera obscura- all good stuff, and there are a lot that I'm missing.

Sterling Ruby

Jacqueline Humphries

All in all, you just can't go without witnessing the biennial in all of its long winded surprises, sensations, blunders, and achievements.. I guess I'm glad I didn't totally skip the work I didn't like, but at the same time somebody please give someone like Ms. Grabner a chance to curate the whole damn thing next time. It shouldn't matter whether it's a museum or a gallery, commercial or non profit. Exhibitors of art and culture have a responsibility to do whatever it takes to truly represent the artists of our time without constantly watching their backs, their reputations and their pocket books....

Now I'm being an optimist!

detail of Joel Otterson's beaded curtain

October 3, 2013

Art House Gallery Archives: REMIXED 2012

Third installment of The Art House Archives:

REMIXED: A site-specific collaborative entanglement of used electronics
by Jon Slackman & Samantha Palmeri
May 6 - June 2, 2012

Sparked by a random comment on facebook about what to do with unwanted electrical equipment, we put out a call for the local community to dump their rejected gear at the gallery. A few weeks later box loads arrived filled with television sets, printers, answering machines, extension cords, cameras, light fixtures, and other outdated contraptions. Armed with drop cloths, gallons of unused latex paint, and some good loud music to listen to, we were ready to get to work. We arranged and hung the objects first. Some of the wires were spray painted but we poured the gallons of paint directly onto most of the pieces. I painted shadow replicas of the wires directly onto the walls adding another dimension to the piece. 

Whatever plugs still worked were plugged in including the television which maintained a fuzzy non-picture throughout the show, Christmas lights, some blinking, and spot lights that were connected to the center piece. 

There's nothing like frolicking in gallons of wet paint! We had a blast. The hardest part of the whole thing was definitely the clean up. Thanks to everyone who was a part of this project.

September 12, 2013

Art House Gallery Archives: Some Urban in my Suburban Please

Second Installment of Art House Gallery Archives. 

Here is a show I curated in February 2012 titled

Some Urban in my

This was our first major show at the gallery and the most fun I had the whole time I was there. Four New York based artists were selected including painters Carmen Einfinger and Meghann Snow, graffiti artist Cram Concepts, and me. The concept was simply to bring some urban into a very suburban area, and I went about it by asking each artist to create their piece on site at the gallery over the course of a long winter weekend. There's nothing like creating artwork alongside other artists creating artwork!

Carmen was the first to arrive. We spent an excellent day together talking and working. There were measurements taken, trips to the hardware store, people coming in and out of the gallery, and me making sure everyone was fed and happy. She worked on her piece while I worked on mine. It was a long day that ended at my house with glasses of wine and good feelings all around.

me concentrating on spray foam

Carmen concentrating on measurements

Carmen Einfinger

Carmen Einfinger

Cram Concepts
Cram Concepts met us bright and early the next day to work on his graffiti mural which would eventually cover three large gallery walls in the next room. Everything was going smoothly. Carmen only had a few hours left of work, Cram was just getting going and I was midway through my piece. What we didn't anticipate was the smell from the spray paint! My attempts to stave off the stench with fans and plastic tarps was to no avail, and the 19th century nailed and painted shut windows weren't helping. We ended up working in our winter coats, 30 degree gusts coming from every open door and crevice we could manage. Cram took an extremely long cigarette break while Carmen finished her piece, and I spent the rest of the evening holed up in the upstairs office.

the beginning of a masterpiece!

Cram Concepts

the ventilator that could've come in handy for the rest of us
my daughter with the fumes
Carmen working in her winter coat

Carmen's finished piece "Fill in the Blanks"

Carmen Einfinger

Cram's finished mural "Purple People Dominator"

work in progress "Eat Me"
Finishing touches for the show were made all the following week including procuring a vintage gumball dispenser to go next to our gum wall, making sure all invitations and press went out on time, preparing for the opening, and, oh yes, finishing my artwork for the show. 

my "Grillz" (Golden Nuggets) in the making
Gum Balls

Meghann Snow

Meghann Snow was the last artist to participate as her performance piece would take place at the opening reception. Everyone who's put a show together knows that there are a ton of last minute things to do no matter how prepared you are. To put a snag in the process, Meghann called from the bus stop saying she missed the bus and needed to be picked up a half hour away from the gallery. Once she arrived she discovered a malfunction in the painting suit she had just had made specifically for her piece. When it came time for the performance Meghann walked out in an improvised bubble wrap and masking tape get-up that was both funny and clever! Her hip-hop body painting of a purple and yellow abstract city scape was a hit.
Meghann Snow during her performance

Overall Some Urban in my Suburban Please was a big success. We had a ton of people at the opening, a good write-up in the press, visitors who continued to interact with the artwork throughout the show, and an amazing artistic and personal experience for me. I'm thrilled that I got to do this work. Carmen especially taught me a valuable lesson about learning to go with the flow in my artwork and not be so stuck in my own head. Thanks Carmen! And thanks to everyone who participated in this event.

Installation view of Carmen's "Fill in the Blanks" and the brick wall

A visitor making his mark

Meghann's finished piece, Dance Painting #4 with her masking tape booties hanging on the wall

partial view of "Grillz" and Cram's "Ice Cream Clouds" with hall & stairway in background

Some Urban in my Suburban please 
A multi-media site-specific group exhibition with NY artists: 
Cram Concepts, Carmen Einfinger, Samantha Palmeri & Meghann Snow

Press Release
Manahawkin's newest arts space, The Art House Gallery, is pleased to present "Some Urban in my Suburban please", a site-specific group exhibition featuring four artists working in a variety of mixed media. The exhibit fills two main gallery spaces and includes graffiti art, sculpture, interactive painting, and performance art. With most of the work having been created on site at the gallery, collectively the space radiates with raw creative energy similar to the gritty push of a city street.
New York artist Carmen Einfinger, known for her paintings and public works of lively organic patterns, brings her particular harmony of color and playfulness to an interactive installation. Reversing the roles of the traditional artist with the street artist, she's painted her piece directly on the gallery wall, while the visitors of the gallery are left to "graffiti" the unfinished canvas that partially covers it.
New York multi media artist Meghann Snow, who uses dance to create visual art, will be performing a painting piece at the opening reception in which she'll use her body like a paintbrush. Dipping into gallons  of latex paint, neatness will definitely not be a factor here.
Co-owner of the gallery and curator of the show, Samantha Palmeri, contributes two pieces. A debris of colorful paint and mixed  media fills the space of what once was a window pane in the gallery, while a real brick wall is partially built between two rooms. Typical of the urban landscape, here the unfinished rubble brings vitality to the space.
New York graffiti artist Cram Concepts has masterfully spray painted two large murals on the gallery walls. 
A gum wall which visitors can add to on their way in or out completes the show, making "Some Urban in my Suburban please" an eventful and transformative artwork, alleviating most of the white box.

View more videos from Some Urban in my Suburban please here!