Tuesday, November 30

MFA Boston in Two Hours

Over Thanksgiving weekend, Kelsey and I had only two short hours to spend touring the new American Art wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This wasn't much time for the art - or the camera - but the space is fantastic, and the Museum's highlights look better than ever.

Friday, November 19

Finding Gerard Byrne

Case Study: Loch Ness (Some Possibilities and Problems)
2001-2010 (ongoing) Gerard Byrne (via Auckland Triennial)
Since 2008, I have been searching for documentation of Gerard Byrne's Boston ICA installation of Case Study: Loch Ness (Some Possibilities and Problems). I have really just been stuck trying to find his name, remember when I was there - and almost in bizarre irony to what the exhibit was about - what I had seen - which was originally what haunted me.
Installation View: Case Study: Loch Ness (Some Possibilities and Problems)
2001-2010 (ongoing) Gerard Byrne (via Auckland Triennial)

Case Study has been one of the only installations I've seen that completely swallowed me up then piece by piece revealed it's intentions. It didn't have a clever aftertaste. And unlike how I feel about a lot of installation art, it used all of it's components (photography, found sculpture, multimedia elements) convincingly - that is to say, it couldn't have been executed any other way. The piece has been building since 2001. Greg Cook, of the Boston Phoenix described it as:
...a playful conceptual-art riff on the Loch Ness Monster mystery. The installation comprises a slide-show, a grainy silent film, audio of a guy reading what seem to be accounts of sightings of Nessie, text summaries of "sightings" pasted to a wall, and a tree stump. But mostly it's black-and-white photos depicting a strange ripple on the lake, driftwood, a swimmer's arm breaking through the water - all things that might be mistaken for a monster if you were so inclined
The Loch Ness legend is well known. There has never been any true evidence of the monster's existence. But Byrne is not so much interested in presenting the legend to us, so much as he's trying to provoke us with questions that Cook suggests: "How do we see? How do we trick ourselves into seeing things that might not be there?". Or as Nicholas Baume, Chief Curator at the ICA, describes, "he plays with our sense of period and context, fashioning his work so that we can never be exactly sure of what we are seeing."

Saturday, November 6

Keeping Friends Outside the Art World

Dan Cameron (Photo via Art Fag City)
I have been following Paddy Johnson's interview series, Survival in New York, on Art Fag City. The series includes interviews of young and established artists and curators including to-date: Marcin Ramocki, Lauren Cornell, Dan Cameron, Triple Candie and William Powhida. They will be compiled and reflected upon later this month in an issue of MAP Magazine.

New York is a far cry from Portland (or maybe not) but the artist survival woes are the same. How does an artist develop a career of making things while making a living?

The interviewee's are genuinely down-to-earth about their practice. Maybe confidence like that is exuded after establishing yourself or eliminating doubt. Confidence is a common trait among young artists, but being down-to-earth is certainly not.

Tuesday, November 2

What Am I Looking At?: Figurative Paintings That Aren't

Two Paintings by Roger White (via Rachel Uffner Gallery)
When you see something you like, you know it immediately. But knowing what it is you're enjoying is always harder to define. Many of the paintings I've been thinking about lately reflect that feeling pretty literally. These are images about image making and they are influencing my own decisions about paint.

The paintings I'm thinking about might articulate some sort of tangible space but with non-objective shapes. They do not quite fall within Abstraction.I thought the paintings of Roger White work this way. White's paintings are comprised of non-objective and organic forms making up patterns. But in some of the paintings the patterns deviate and sometimes the abstract forms feel reminiscent of actual objects, like a hat, lampshade or folded something. But the forms never materialize beyond that and ultimately we're left looking at only the relationships of a painting process.