Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The "Christmas Office Party" Show in the LES: Counting Down to 2009

Canada, Museum 52, New York Magazine, pinning the tail on the zeitgeist



One thing about the Vulture (Devouring Culture) section of the online edition of New York Magazine. When they write about art, it comes with a trendy hook, a fierce desire to stay just one step behind the young and creative. They generally hope to pin the tail on the zeitgeist.

This was again in evidence in their coverage of the recent opening of Without Walls, a group sculpture show at Museum 52, a gallery on Rivington Street, in which work by over 50 younger sculptors was exhibited, with the proviso "that the walls would not be used, and that the sculpture should be within the approximate dimensions of two foot high, one foot wide and one foot deep."

This led to a lot of small objects densely installed on the floor. And apparently it was a VERY crowded opening, with some of the work in seeming danger of being trampled by the celebratory hordes. So the New York Magazine piece naturally advanced a wild, Christmas party hook: "Artwork Goes Miraculously Un-Stepped-On at Perilous Group Show".


This "Smells Like Teen Spirit" approach seemed worthy of comment or expansion, as follows:

That night there was another fabulous group show in the Lower East Side, at Canada, a bastion of the hip-oisie on lower Chrystie Street in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge. It was entitled Sowing Circle, a show of Lily Ludlow's film work [see stills composite above] and paintings that she executed together with a lot of collaborators and kindred spirits. I paste in a bit of the gallery press release.
CANADA is proud to present: Sowing Circle a multi channel film by Allen Cordell and Lily Ludlow.

Opening Reception: Friday December 12, 6-9pm

For their fourth collaborative film project Lily Ludlow and Allen Cordell present Sowing Circle. The installation consists of three large projections surrounding a table set with the remnants of a gathering. The viewer is both voyeur and participant at an impromptu meeting of nine women. One at a time they whisper to each other something vital; a secret we can't hear. The camera lingers as each is caught in a daydream- a slight pause from the moment happening, an elicitation of a memory. These visions are creases into the other sides of their lives which, while seeming mundane (the sweeping of leaves, the chopping of onion), are also potentially sublime.

Starring:
Rita Ackermann
Lizzie Bougatsos
Laurie Isabella
Eunice Kim
Chloe Sevigny
Agathe Snow
Sadie Laska
Marcella Mullins
Anke Weyer

Also on exhibit is Ms. Ludlow's new series of erotic paintings.
"Tastefully disheveled people clutching beers" also circulated through the two rooms of exhibition. And there was an improvised feast of bread, cheese, fruit, nuts, candies and other finger foods arranged on a large table, to mirror the table in the central video.

Issues of camaraderie, community, sensuality, the feminine mystique, the power to be found in calmness and modesty, the meditative, transformative aspects of the quotidien: all were on display. But to my knowledge, no artwork was stepped on, kicked around, toppled over or otherwise physically challenged.




P.S. Considering the relative geographical proximity of Canada and Museum 52, it would have been no problem to attend both openings. Perhaps the LES is the brave new artworld's nabe of choice for the Christmas office party.

I congratulate Daniel McDonald on his timely and satiric Uncle Sam with disco ball on New Year's Eve sculpture. Will have to go see it. It's been a tough year for the USA. A lot of people are counting down to the advent of 2009.

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