Crusty old curmudgeon vs Easy to please?

I have returned from the rain and the general pavement hardness of NYC with a little nugget to share after a long silence. The New Museum's current show "The Generational: Younger Than Jesus" peaked my interest in its showcase of 50 international artists under the age of 33. Not quite fitting into that category, myself, but damn close enough to care (me and Jesus, forever 33!), I found to my surprise that out of the show, the simplist gestures were the things that stuck.

...Like the gallery attendant wearing a long, red ponytail and a white Adidas tracksuit who troubleshot a cranky plasma display on Floor #4. Look closely to see the most delicate red paint stains on her clean, sporty duds. Or, the banana peel tossed on the gallery floor. Accident? Art? Pay attention...they are the purposeful gestures of Ryan Gander and Adriana Lara (in that order). In an age where Attention Deficit Disorder seems to be the M.O., I was glad that my focus allowed me to catch these small incongruities and appreciate them.

Ziad Antar "Wa" (2004), video, installation view

Above: Ziad Antar, "Wa", 2004, video (installation view from "Younger Than Jesus" show at the New Museum.)

Maybe this pegs me as over the hill...but my favorite piece, hands down, was Lebanese artist Ziad Antar's short film "Wa". Starring two solemn, pajama-clad children singing along to a synthesizer's demo tune, they pierce past their own cuteness in their mono-syllabic shorthand for a baby's cry. This little gem was so simple, yet stuck with me throughout the sensory overload of the rest of the show, and beyond. You can view it at the moving image site (requires free registration and login, but it's worth it).



Come Sail Away

Okay, I've had about enough of these freezing cold temperatures. I was just watching Bravo and Matilda (my feral yard cats) trying to cross the pavement for feeding time, eight paws all sliding in separate directions over the ice. Tragic.

Around this time in the frozen depths of winter's dark, dry exhalation, I start to fantasize about summer. Beach. Boat. SPF 45...

Ship by CW Roelle

ABOVE: Title Unknown by CW Roelle, 2008, 7.5"x6", coated wire

Since we don't have summer, and since we don't have a boat, (and I'm certainly not in much need of sunblock) I purchased this small piece by CW Roelle as a Christmas gift for my husband. I'm trying to stimulate a little art collecting dialogue between us, as one way that we can improve our lives AND help the economy at the same time...without helping anyone evil that we don't like and doesn't deserve us.

But we like this artist, and we'll be looking for more from him. And while there isn't a force on earth that can pry me from my house today, I can gaze into the waters of this little vignette and smell the salt spray.


You Are What You Eat

The final weeks of 2008 loom before us, with their annual promise of copius consumption shadowed by the thin specter of our economic downturn. This Thanksgiving holiday, I turn to art for answers, and am not left empty handed.

Sink your teeth into some tasty nuggets of photography from Matthew Carden. Married to a chef and working as a commercial photographer, Carden hones in on our culture's afterthought of abundance in his Small World series by juxtaposing playful, tiny human figures in collosal landscapes of food.

Matthew Carden, "Sweet Potatoes" - limited edition print

Above: Matthew Carden, "Sweet Potatoes", limited edition print

With their tiny plastic hardhats, uniforms and scuba gear implying industry, Carden's figures call to attention the often invisible energy and process underlying our food chain. Feast your eyes on the playful and portent on Carden's website, 350 Degrees.

Pushing the Envelope: Fun With Hot Glass

Here's a high-energy video to start off the day (via Core77 via YouTube). Rhode Island native and RISD alum (BFA industrial design / MFA glass) C. Matthew Szosz gets his elemental energy out inflating fused sheets of window glass into sculptural glass "envelopes". Hot glass is explosive - the stillness of the final form is belied by the frenetic urgency of the process. Love it.

If you are in New York, these works are on display at Urban Glass in Brooklyn through this Friday, November 14th, as part of the Wheaton Fellows group show "The Space Between". Images of the finished "inflatables" are available on the Urban Glass website.

C. Matthew Szosz, "#37", 2006, glass

Image: C. Matthew Szosz, "#37", fused and inflated window glass

Elizabeth King: "The Sizes of Things in the Mind's Eye"

An exciting exhibition opens tonight at Brown University's David Winton Bell Gallery. Artist Elizabeth King pushes the boundaries of the mechanics and emotion of human movement through her evocative, cross-media works.

In a groundbreaking mid-career survey, "The Sizes of Things in the Mind's Eye" represents a wide selection of the artist's meticulous automaton sculptures and their accompanying film studies. King's otherworldly human portraits in fine porcelain, glass and wood bridge the time-honored practice of sculpture with the science of human movement and the illusion of film.

Elizabeth King, Animation Study: Pose 7, 1997-2005, Chromogenic prints on Kodak Endura paper, 20 x 20 in.  Collection of the artist.

Image: Elizabeth King, "Animation Study: Pose 7", 1997-2005, Chromogenic prints on Kodak Endura paper, 20 x 20 in. Collection of the artist.

To preview tonight's opening reception, Elizabeth King will give a free lecture at 5:30pm today in the List Art Center Auditorium.

"The Sizes of Things in the Mind's Eye" is on view from November 7th through December 21st, 2008 at Brown University's David Winton Bell Gallery. You can read my full review of the exhibition in the November/December issue of artscope magazine.

The David Winton Bell Gallery is located on the first floor of Brown University's List Art Center: 64 College Street, Providence, RI 02906.

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