Archive for April, 2008

First There Was Babel, Now There is Whitney

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Photo by Libby Rosof — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

When you go to a museum, do you ever feel as though you don’t quite “get it”?

Now, don’t worry — the Whitney Museum of American Art explains it all for you. After all, the goal is to encourage new audiences to access art. Right?

Their Biennial 2008, which runs through June 1, is one of the most prestigious gatherings of new art. The exhibit is so new and so bold that it is a good thing the Whitney helps entice the potential audience with clear and concise summaries of the artists’ works.

Or is it? Carol Diehl found her own favorite Whitney exhibition descriptions, some of which we reprint here along with a couple of choice additions.

Sure, it might be easier to write a description of an episode of Gilligan’s Island (“Gilligan finds a crate full of magician’s props, but his attempts to use them backfire.”)

Still, you might want to get the Professor off the island to help you with the Whitney’s invitation to art:

It is the problematizing of expectations and formalisms through destruction and transformations that is the heart of the continuing project.

Todd Alden on Mika Tajima/New Humans

Baldessari’s juxtapositions, displacements, and spatial interventions resonated with Magritte’s uncanny aesthetics but also with the disjunctive poetics very much at the dyslexic heart of his own work. This was further achieved through the deployment of elective amenities, primarily by displacing the familiar””and familiar narratives””with the unexpected or with other elements of disruption, including surprising spacing or gaps.

Todd Alden on John Baldessari

Thomson’s inherently conversational practice both gamely Pop-ifies its often antiaesthetic historical precedents and resituates that generation’s thought experiments in the social realm.

Suzanne Hudson on Mungo Thomson

Bove’s “settings” draw on the style, and substance, of certain time-specific materials to resuscitate their referential possibilities, to pull them out of historical stasis and return them to active symbolic duty, where new adjacencies might reactivate latent meanings.

Jeffrey Kastner on Carol Bove

As political actions, Haeg’s initiatives subvert the idea that humans are the earth’s apex species by alleviating our alienation from our environment, our food, and each other. Artistically, they challenge viewers and participants to diversify their own daily routines in favor of poeticism and positive interaction in all regards.

Trinie Dalton on Fritz Haeg

Ultimately, Lawler’s self-reflexive photographs about the endless parades of artistic display point toward the regeneration of surplus meanings produced in the spaces between artworks and exhibition frames. Marking the apparatus of the art system, Lawler’s knowing work is at once critical and in on the game.

Todd Alden on Louise Lawler

As McMillian continues to explicate present moments, his work comments on the lugubrious underbellies implicit to each cultural progression and movement.

Trinie Dalton on Rodney McMillian

Perhaps plucked from a commercial or shareholder prospectus, each vignette denies specificity even as it is fetishized through its transmutation into luxurious materials at a grand scale, leaving the narrative ambiguously open””and ready to be consumed, repurposed, and discarded anew.

Suzanne Hudson on Seth Price

Don’t walk, run!

- Bill Reichblum

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Arts Presenters: Steve Sapp

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Photo: Steve SappSteve Sapp is a Bronx-born playwright, poet and co-founder of Universes Poetic Theatre Ensemble. Universes incorporates poetry, narrative stories, jazz, blues and movement to craft complex performances about issues ranging from Hurricane Katrina to the misinformation super highway.

In this interview Steve talks about their recent North African tour, the process by which their performance pieces emerge, and where he goes to enjoy great art.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

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Arts Presenters: Lucy Guerin

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Photo: Lucy GuerinLucy Guerin is a dancer, choreographer and artistic director of Lucy Guerin Inc. Based in Melbourne, Australia, Guerin’s work has won numerous awards and rave reviews.

In this podcast Lucy talks about her transformation from a dancer to having her own company, the recent work Structure and Sadness, and an ongoing piece she is creating with fellow Aussies Chunky Move.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

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Interview: Mark Lawes

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Photo: Mark LawesMark Lawes is Artistic Director of the new Grand Theatre in Calgary, Canada. This multi-disciplinary culture house is bringing innovative and talented work to audiences, including Compagnie Marie Chouinard and Peter Brook.

In this interview Mark talks about how the Grand Theatre was converted from an indoor golf driving range into a center for the performing arts, and how Calgary’s young and educated population participates in the arts.

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Go Global, Citizen!

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Photo by Chih Hau — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Festivals can move David Bower’s “think globally, act locally” slogan for Friends of the Earth to all action: the better you act locally, the more opportunity there is to act globally.

Just take a look at some of this week’s KArts Culture News posted from around the world:

  • German Shakespeare Festival leads with a Japanese production
  • Cameroon connects theatre to a plan for economic development
  • Hip-hop’s international innovators gather for their annual fest
  • Tunisian music fest energizes a tradition
  • Monterey hosts the next generation of jazz
  • Palestinians use dance fest as a bridge through check-points
  • Australia becomes a home for international fringe
  • China creates a home for contemporary dance
  • Edinburgh will bring local excellence to the global stage

Also on the site this week, a link to Juliana Rincón Parra on the great Global Voices site about three contests for global citizens to tell new stories.

El Pais hosts the Movil Film Fest, a contest of one minute videos that have been shot by cell phones or PDAs. The award will go to the work that represents the Best Citizen Journalist. (Check out last year’s submissions.)

MySpace is seeking work from fourteen to twenty-four olds to “Film Your Issue.” Entries can range from thirty seconds to two minutes.

Video News 24 is also hosting a contest for this new opportunity of citizen journalism.

A local story becomes a global cause. An individual’s art becomes a global inspiration. What a wonderful world.

- Bill Reichblum

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