Posts for October 2008

Sylvan Lionni's "Before the Flood" at Freight and Volume

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New York artist Sylvan Lionni once characterized himself as a "child of Mondrian and the video arcade," a description that could ring true for many in the current generation of painters intent upon collapsing the abstract/representational divide in a Pop context. Lionni's particular strategy entails the artist producing renderings of mass-produced objects like lottery tickets, stripped of all but their geometric undergarments. These immaculate paintings reveal their conceptual angle in their very making: layer upon layer of acrylic lend their products a thick, hard-edged polish, while also divesting them of authorial marks. This labor-intensive performance of post-industrial manufacture not only draws attention to contemporary conditions of production and consumption, but also illuminates the threshold Lionni's referents cross, when remade as functionless art-objects. As strong as these conceptual foundations may be, "Before the Flood," Lionni's current exhibition at New York's Freight & Volume fails to match past bodies of work. The solar panel is the source of his new paintings, which the artist variably hangs, props against walls and, in the most humorous installation, tilts towards the ceiling, on aluminum bracing, as if they absorb light in the same fashion as their sources (Sun Ra, 2008). Yet the press release is a disservice to their formal elegance, which excerpts Glenn Dixon's muddy "Daylight Saving Time," including the author's claim that "In the wake of the industrial revolution, the production and consumption of energy were driven apart - largely owing to the offense given by production to the eye, ear, or nose." Lionni's referents carry enough resonance to stand without such theoretical girding. - Tyler Coburn

Image: Sylvan Lionni, Sun Ra, 2008

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  • NY Art Book Fair- NY Art Book Fair kicks off tonight with a Benefit preview -- $20 gets you a ticket plus a limited edition by Jonathan Monk. The other days of the fair are free, and it will be open until Sunday with over 140 international publishers, a queer zine exhibition, book signings, performances, and so much more. Full schedule here. Not to be missed!!
  • Shift 2008- Electronic Arts Festival all this week in Basel. This year's theme is "record" which will be defined under three separate subheaders, "to register," "to store," and "to process." Performances, concerts, an exhibition, panel discussions, workshops, and more are all organized around this subject.
  • DARMSTADT presents ESSENTIAL REPERTOIRE at ISSUE PROJECT ROOM, October 22-26, 2008 - Festival this week at Issue Project Room organized by contemporary music series DARMSTADT. "Entitled "Essential Repertoire," its six performances are an initial attempt to accumulate a unique and expanding collection of cherished experimental music: from the New York School through the Minimalists, European approaches, and a number of electronic practices, alongside music's connectivity to art, performance, and multimedia. Darmstadt's curators encourage vivid interpretations of their favorite avant-garde works from the city's liveliest composers and musicians. Our final day of programming focuses on new work by emerging artists."
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    The Technology Readings Videos

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    Videos from our summer New Silent Series event "The Technology Readings" are now up on Rhizome's Vimeo and Rhizome's Video page. Some of the city's best comedians explored the theme of technology-saturated culture, including Chelsea Peretti, Amy Poehler, John Roberts, Joe Mande, Anthony Atamanuik and Laura Krafft.


    The Technology Readings 1/6 from Rhizome on Vimeo.


    The Technology Readings 2/6 from Rhizome on Vimeo.


    The Technology Readings 3/6 from Rhizome on Vimeo.


    The Technology Readings 4/6 from Rhizome on Vimeo.


    The Technology Readings 5/6 from Rhizome on Vimeo.


    The Technology Readings 6/6 from Rhizome on Vimeo.

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    Personal Computer (2007) - Ben Fino-Radin

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    fibrous reinterpretation of the Macintosh 128k

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  • video • youtube- i heart photograph collect a number of "meta youtube" videos from constant dullaart, ben coonley, pash*, julien levesque, ginger anyhow, seecoy, and harm van den dorpel.
  • Cut & Splice: From the Seven Days- Cut & Splice: From the Seven Days brings together some of the world’s leading contemporary avant-garde musicians for a unique and ground-breaking interpretation of one of Stockhausen's most controversial works. Featuring over 20 performers, installations and a four day durational piece, the festival is set in one of London’s most atmospheric spaces, Wilton's Music Hall, the oldest grand music hall in the world.
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    Video Disharmonies

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    On October 29th, the new Temporäre Kunsthalle will open in Berlin, making the city even more of an international art mecca. Their inaugural exhibition features four ambitious multi-channel video installations by Berlin-based artist Candice Breitz. The show will open in two waves, beginning with her installations Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon), King (A Portrait of Michael Jackson) and Queen (A Portrait of Madonna). In each of these pieces, fans of the musicians have been invited to sing entire albums by Madonna, Michael Jackson, and John Lennon. With each performance shot in precisely the same way, the resulting headshots are presented in the round, a circle of voices aimed at each other, almost duking it out for the title of ultimate spectator, in front of a perpetual blue screen that marks the whole thing as a production. While Breitz is often celebrated for her witty and clever embrace of pop culture, there is a deeper current to her work which revolves around close scrutiny of the relationship between the formation of celebrity at the hands of mass media and the role of these machinations in the culture industry. In these ways, her often autobiographical parodies of pop figures are not so different from the real thing--afterall, it's the idea of Madonna that we see in the media, more than Madonna herself. If a circle of people singing Madge's hits can constitute a "portrait" of her, it's because her image is best reflected in the way that consumers drink-up her message. Then again, this creates a nice tension in the new work Breitz will premiere in the second half of the show. Him + Her is a two channel project employing several decades' worth of found footage from the films of Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep ...

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    It is beginning (2004) - Kristof Kintera

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    electronically controlled electric discharge (50.000 V) plug, cable, socket


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    Tainted White

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    Le Corbusier wrote When the Cathedrals were White: A Journey to the Country of Timid People after his first trip to the United States in 1935. Whether the tome's resoundingly sour tone reflects the architect's failure to secure commissions or his anxiety, as Koolhaas later theorized, at finding in Manhattan the half-brother of "La Ville Radieuse" remains unclear. In any case, Le Corbusier's critique of the puritanical cleanliness he sees as a "national virtue" has provided important insight into the underbelly of the American architecture and "the psychosexual charge of the white wall," a locus of repressed desires given preeminent form in the white cube. Justin Beal's current project at New York's Bortolami smartly delineates these related histories within a broader libidinal economy, inclusive of "design, politics, advertising, language and aesthetics." Five rectangular sculptures, fronted with glass and sided with untreated aluminum, sit as low pedestals or hang flush with the walls, explicitly mimicking the proportions of corporate office windows. Backed with opaque sheets, the glass doesn't offer a view onto any subject, but rather remains flat and affectless, in keeping with the impassive radiance of the surrounding walls. In Beal's previous sculptures, fruit functioned as surrogates for human bodies, their gradual decay offering counterpoints to the Platonic precepts underpinning the sculptures' source architectures. "The mold, the drips, the flies," Beal once wrote, "illustrate the inevitable impossibility of containing a human organism within a structure made of glass and steel and sheetrock." At Bortolami, Beal presents a further degree of removal, introducing glory hole-shaped cuts in the glass, stuffed with dirty cotton rags, and sex toy-like objects, in steel, with what look like plaster casts of oranges on either end. The sheer banality the white cube presently connotes all but hides the way ...

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    The Central Region (1970) - Michael Snow

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    Use Hypnosis (2008) - Charles Broskoski

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