Monday, June 2, 2008

Whitney Highlight Reel

Here is a list of Biennial highlights in order of importance. This is empirically true so don't argue.

1. Javier Tellez, Letter on the Blind For The Use of Those Who See
This is an amazing film that revealed to me the multitude more layers of perceptual activity that there are in the world. I didn't remember the parable that this film was based on until I was reminded by my travelling companion, Ms. Braniac. More than that it is really touching to see and hear how these people apprehend their sense of what this elephant is made of and it's size.

This film also made me think about how much more vast the mind seems to me than the world.

This film also made everything else on view seem really self indulgent.

2. Phoebe Washburn
Okay, so I'm not a journalist, and her work is site specific so, the Whitney doesn't have the piece that I saw posted online. So, here goes with my powers of description.

It was a giant installation, not dissimilar from the one you will find following the above link, looking vaguely like a back yard gardener's shed with attached deck. There were cut flowers with there stems in either a lemon yellow or orange liquid. You soon discover that this is Gatorade being run through aquarium filters. There are some towels strewn about as though they are to be drying in the sun.

Further there are bulbs in trays and a refrigeration unit that are supposedly rooting themselves in this soil of day-glo (Gatorade yellow and orange again) golf balls.

I thought that this was a brilliant take on falsity of our conduct and by extension seemed to address the flexibility of reality. We mean well, but sometimes our houses steal away habitat. Ya dig?

3. Olaf Bruening, Home 2

Humorous film referring to tourists on expeditions, or finding themselves. You know the type..."becoming one with this place"..."I could melt into the red clay soil". The actor playing the "tourist" is totally ADHD and perfect. Reminds me of some backpackers I knew.

4. Robert Bechtle, who I typically have no love for, but his presence really stood out here. His paintings were great! That dead "photorealist" thing has made way for some interesting painting decisions. (None of which you can see in reproduction or jpeg) Very active call and response thing happening with the paint. And they stood up against an installation heavy engagement making Karen Kilimnik's paintings look even more lame.

Another surprise was Ellen Harvey's installation. It was fun to interact with.

Finally there was Leslie Hewitt who is a photographer after my own heart. The work was a lot about "pictures" and "objects". I think we are of the same mind when composing a picture. And as a limp nod toward installation there was a copy of How To Compose A Picture (can't remember if it was Hal Reed or Arthur Zeidenberg) pitched in the gallery floor. Her large photos were leaned against the walls on the floor. Again. Very "installation" like.

1 comment:

watie said...

I saw a show of Karen Klimnik's at the MCA in Chicago recently. I went in thinking I didn't like her, that her ideas were shallow and spoke only of entitlement and class. I left being far more secure in my derisive judgments, with the revelation that she's an even worse installation artist than painter.

But I'm currently painting memorials to a chihuahua. So where do I have t throw stones?