The Color and the Shape

Why does Art in Chelsea gotta be so pointless? I'm not gonna write about the pointless because that in itself is pointless but...c'mon Art! We've got tons of wars and government overthrows and ecological disasters and a spooky looming election and no real strong loud voice for change and what do you have? Shapes? Do shapes really cut it right about now Art world? And yes, shapes can represent other things but this time around the shape excuses (artist statements) were even lacking ("The artist had jet lag so he was interested in time." No joke???!!!) Well..there...I finally said something outwardly negative on this here internet platform (which is really like yelling into an open field anyway...sooooo....there's that.) But, I digress, let me at least talk about the non-pointless Art I saw!

After stopping by a friends opening in Chelsea this past Thursday I did a quick breeze around the galleries lead by Jem Cohen as a hesitant Brent dragged behind! While walking down 25th street I saw a crowd of people with cell phone cameras aloft so I got curious... Put on by The Pace Gallery, wedged in between two large, unassuming New York buildings I was confronted with a giant, inflatable globe! It's glowing presence pushed against metal girders in an abandoned lot while a pulsating drone engulfed the entire soundspace! It was absolutely flooring! Titled Tight Spot I should have known immediately that this piece belonged to the mind of the incredible David Byrne (speaking of which, did you know David Byrne made a feature film called True Stories in the 80s? And it is on Netflix streaming? Check it out! It is a fabulously weird musical about suburban sprawl, Texas and tabloids!). Byrne, once again, manages to simply, beautifully, poetically, comically comment on the state of the world- just plain wonderful! See Art, you CAN do it!

Another piece I saw that stuck with me in a different way was the video piece of Pawel Wojtasik showing over at Priska C. Juschka Fine Art. The piece is called Nine Gates and has something to do with a poem about sex written by the risque writer Guillame Apollinaire to his lover as he fought during WWI (the gallery was busy so I could not read the text and I can't seem to find a translation online! but) frankly, I found this aspect of the piece uneeded...The film was a stark exploration of the landscape and depths of the physical human body. At times pornographic and at other times softly sensuous this piece moved along bodies as if encountering an alien planet for the first time, showing things only a hi-def camera could (I don't know what was used but the camera seemed dense far beyond the detail of the human eye!) and in such close, tight proximity it was beyond intrusion. The sound was slightly destracting, not entirely captivating for a piece that could entrance so easily (but I think this might actually have been a tech problem more than anything) and the flourishes supporting the piece (the poem, the text on the wall, light boxes that I somehow missed?) all seemed to take away from the creepy, raw beauty that was on display. If anything, it made me want to see other images made by Pawel Wojtasik and see this one in a more optimal viewing situation...

Now, Art...what else was good? There were a lot of elements of things I really liked- a skate ramp shaped film screen at James Cohan, potent pictures of birth and the overlooked graphic nature of family by Elinor Carucci at Sasha Wolf Gallery, the gimmicky but entertaining elevators (a full scale remake of an elevator shaft positioned horizontally so that you can walk inside, a freestanding cube of a stuck elevator delving below the floor, others) at Sean Kelly but this is only a fraction of the things I saw. Art...sigh...I am buoyed by the good things but sometimes the empty shapes just really weigh me down...! Good Night Art! Sweet dreams (that should only be part of your inspiration)!



Donna K. is a recent transplant to the Midwest where she can be found exploring culture at large through film programming, writing and her general interest in the world- both on and offline.