Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Kelly Wood
Monica Grzymala

Curated by Jessie Caryl
18 January – 16 February, 2008

Catriona Jeffries Gallery
274 East 1st Avenue
Vancouver, British Columbia
V5T 1A6 Canada

*Entrance at back lane*

Friday, January 25, 2008

Rodney Graham, “The Gifted Amateur, Nov. 10th, 1962” (2007)

Rodney, who is the gifted amateur?

He’s a fictional character: a professional in the midst of a midlife crisis who has just discovered art. He saw a 1962 Morris Louis exhibition at the Andre Emmerich Gallery and decided, “I’m going to give this a shot. Any idiot could do it.” At first, I was going to call him "the aficionado."

Tell me about the gifted amateur’s living room.

It’s a bit of a fantasy of males my age: The guy has a kind of Playboy Mansion bachelor pad. I looked at a lot of interiors in Architectural Digest. I wanted it to look like an upper-middle-class, West Vancouver adaptation of Richard Neutra-like architecture—a house built into the mountainside. And I wanted it to look like a decorator did it all. There’s no trace in the decor of any prior interest in art. The interest is a sudden explosion; there are art books piled up all over the place.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fischli & Weiss's The Way Things Go shambles it's way onto youtube, here and here.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hundreds of stunning large-format photographs of the american war effort in WWII, at the Library of Congress Flickr site. Click to enlarge.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sunday, January 06, 2008

More Radically Still

"Art video still has a funny reputation, left over from the 1960s, of being a serious medium, made for function rather than pleasure, as opposed to film. Yet "I-Be Area" was pleasure all the way. It was non-stop visual razzle dazzle. It drew on every cheap-thrill trick in the digital graphics playbook.

More radically, it was the length of a feature film. More radically still, it told a story, one with dozens of characters and multiple subplots, which is what entertainment, not art, is supposed to do, if you assume there's a hard and fast difference between the two."

-Holland Cotter, "Video Art Thinks Big: That's Showbiz," New York Times.

I-Be-Area doesn't hit any of my 'pleasure' buttons (not from the excerpt available on the Times website anyway.) Stimulation, sure. Pleasure, no. Nothing wrong with that, but there is a difference.
Also not too sure about the idea of 'function' and 'pleasure' being mutually exclusive (Fischli & Weiss, Kevin Schmidt and Rodney Graham would definitely call foul.)
But the contention that there is something 'radical' in the making and showing of feature-length films with 'characters and sub-plots' is just plain loopy, and a sure sign that the art market is heading for a hyper-implosion of biblical proportions. The last time this brand of pseudo-naive, ahistorical thinking descended on the art world, things didn't end well.
Curators and artists have been screening films in art galleries for a long time without deluding themselves into thinking that the context of the screening had altered the medium itself. You don't have to be a confirmed 'Greenburgian' to grasp the common sense of this. I suspect the appeal of the current feature-length-film format lies in it's usefulness as an escape hatch from the discipline required to work in either 'art' or 'film.' If it doesn't work as art one can always claim film, and if doesn't work as film, well then, art. Either way the artist wins, the critique is deflected, and the work remains safely 'off-limits.' That's not radical, it's cowardly.

Roy Arden's Supernatural and Juggernaut are both included in his current retrospective at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I'd recommend them to anyone wondering about the difference between art and entertainment.

"I am not that interested in making narrative, or stories; I prefer short scenes or vignettes. I like to think of the videos as "appearances." I am very wary of video and film because I think art today is in danger of becoming entertainment. Art, under capitalism, is always being drawn toward the entertainment industry. I try to use video as a counter to entertainment, an anti-entertainment."

-Roy Arden

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Adam Harrison, An Artist Painting With The Aid Of An Overhead Projector, 2006.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Happy New Year to all ATLLT readers from my new twin cousins, Tillie & Finn!

Congratulations to Nicole & Matt & Grandma Sue!
And now, everyone, please. Stop with all the baby-making. This is an art blog, not an Anne Geddes calender. It isn't designed to withstand cuteness of this magnitude.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Encyclopedia of My Death?

Also in the new issue of BC, a long and interesting interview with Dutch artist Marcel Van Eeden, whose ongoing "drawing a day" project ( 6,000 and counting) is comprised of drawings made only from source images which came into being before the artist's birth.
Film stills and news photographs figure prominently, but also details of famous works of art, cartoon characters, text paintings, pornography, still life's, and most recently, an ongoing 'story,' inhabited by multiple characters, that teeters on the edge of narrative cohesion. Van Eeden's dispassionate draughtsmanship (a three-way mash-up of Edward Hopper, Ed Ruscha and Gerhard Richter) seems less a form of direct observation than a light-hearted parody of it, a tripling of the already multiple degrees of separation at play in the artist's source images.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Last Time We Saw You You Looked So Much Older...

Leonard Cohen
talks to Robert Enright about poetry, drawing, music and feeling better in the new issue of Border Crossings:

: My life was very painful for no reason that I could discern. Most of the time the background was anguish and almost everything I did, from the pursuit of women, drugs and religion to my monastic life, was to address this problem. The cover story was successful: I had money, I had fame, I had most of the things people want. So I felt ashamed about feeling bad. But honestly, to get from moment to moment was extremely difficult. The sense of anguish was acute. What happened was that the background of suffering totally dissolved.
...I read somewhere that as you get older, certain brain cells associated with anxiety die in some people. In any event, what happened was that I stopped suffering.

BC: Was this an epiphany, or was it gradual?

LC: It happened by imperceptible degrees over two or three weeks. I didn't even know it was happening, I just woke up one day and I said to myself, this must be what people feel like, I don't feel great, I don't feel bad. I know that if something bad happens, I'll be bummed out, but everything is okay, the background has dissolved. It's just an ordinary day, it isn't a struggle, it isn't an ordeal.