Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ahistoric Occasion: Artists Making History... II

A little more (the first post is here) on Mass Moca's Ahistoric Occasion: Artists Making History, curated by Nato Thompson...

Kerry James Marshall - has a whole bunch of stuff in this show... some images from his P-Van comic, a sculpture, some good prints. I most liked Black Painting (2003-2006)... a very big all black painting of a bedroom. It's hard to make out anything at all, but if you study it you can see a couple in bed, the black power fist on a poster on the wall, a black panther lamp... everything is discernible except for the guys head and face, which I totally couldn't get a handle on from any angle. He is invisible. Here is a picture of the painting in progress.

I like that painting for itself, but also because I relate it to one of Horace Pippin's paintings, West Chester Court House... in which Pippin has represented the statue in front of the courthouse, Old Glory, a statue of a Civil War soldier holding the American flag, as a sort of black avenger.

Horace Pippin
Pippin is one of my favorites... this is as big as I can figure out how to make this image... I wanted to make it bigger.

Paul Chan - is showing his Henry Darger-inspired video, Happiness (finally) after 35,000 Years of Civilization - after Henry Darger and Charles Fourier (2000)... plus filled with many other art references - like Goya/Chapman Brothers, Mario Bros/Arcangel clouds, Breughel's tower, that famous Vietnam-war photo of the naked girl running toward the camera, one scene looked like Roger Brown. Roberta Smith called this video "brilliantly imagined"... but... is it really? How? Sorry, no. It's definitely way more interesting than the charcoal drawings he is showing though.

immediate update: I did very much like the way Chan's piece was displayed, hanging from the ceiling with the video watchable from either side. That's the same way they had some of Darger's double-sided works hanging when I saw them at the Watari-Um... and at the Shiseido space in Ginza in 1997 (ten years ago, FUCK!). There is definitely a little Darger in my One Day in the Garden piece.

I can't believe that Paul Chan vs. the student thing... go to this blog post and scroll down to get the story, and to read Paul's response in the comments.

They are talking about the work reviewed in the excerpt below -

"The banner outside the Serpentine Gallery's group show of young Americans artists simply reads: "Mission Accomplished". By compressing into two words all the cynicism and contempt so many Americans feel for their president, the artist Paul Chan suavely disassociates American art from American policies and so disarms the potentially hostile audience likely to visit the show."

Some of this related type stuff came up in the comments of Winkleman's recent Taking Pictures in Galleries post.

Jeremy Deller - regretfully, not enough time after everything else in this huge museum to spend with Jeremy Deller's two videos.

RELATED: I haven't seen EVERY Mass Moca show, but I've seen a bunch. Here is a short alphabetical listing of my favorite Mass Moca shows -

Tim Hawkinson's Uber Organ - this is right now in a show that just opened at the Getty, but i can't imagine it being in a better space than it had at Mass Moca. i recently read that Inopportune, Cai Guo-Qiang's flying car piece i saw in this same huge space and didn't like, is now in the lobby of the Seattle Art Museum.
Oyvind Fahlstrom - i was lucky to see this.
Jarvis Rockwell - wow... it was so bizarre; and he's the son of Norman.
Ann Sofi-Siden - i had the blog at this time.

Mass Moca has a show opening in April that looks like it will be good.... The Believers.