Wednesday, February 16, 2005

James Hyde Lecture (Part 2)

James Hyde
was in Richmond recently for the inaugural exhibition of Solvent Space - I caught his lecture and took a bunch of notes of which this is the second posting. The first post is here.

On the pieces he calls handles Hyde said that they are "very gestural, like De Kooning" and "really stupid conceptualism". He thinks of the "purposefulness of a handle" but that these pieces are "also completely useless" because "you can't really operate a wall in a mechanical way".

Hyde told a story about some Chinese artist that disappeared into his painting, something like Harold and the Purple Crayon, and that he was looking to "try to find a way to put the viewer inside the painting". A good example would be Privacy Stall, which for me now brings to mind a confessional - especially so after getting such a Last Supper vibe from this piece.

For Hyde, painting is "not an existential statement of humanity" but "more of a performance". He considers his tables and chairs to be both painting and real furniture, and "not a sideline" endeavor. The "furniture becomes a painting surrogate", and one can "be totally with the place of the painting". He seemed happy with this exhibition at Philadelphia's Basekamp because it was "not just a physical perceptual thing but became a social space". Those "ceiling clouds" pictured in the Basekamp show were later paper-mached and hung with colored bulbs to become really cool chandeliers*(I'm not sure if that linked example is one of those in particular, but you get the idea).

The best part for me may have been his talk of mobiles. He said mobiles are " a great low-tech way of doing video". They're "a ruined genre" and "don't exist in a meaningful way" other than as "museum kitsch or children's toys". Hyde feels mobiles have an "elegalic quality" and likes his Fallen Mobile for it's sense of pathos. More on Hyde on mobiles here.

* incidentally, I was sitting right behind Virgil Marti at this lecture, the only other contemporary artist who comes to mind as someone who makes cool chandeliers.

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