Someone on my block is using their car to play soca while they do chores in the yard. I Slept too late to get the garbage to the curb. The laptop is braced on my knees, and I’m braced against the wall.
All the applications I’ve been reviewing in the past week and a half led me by Friday evening to launch into a rant to a friend about the state of much of the work being made today. Over and over I saw artists pay lip service to words like community and history and yet produce work that was thin and disconnected from the world. Abstracted emotion has lost its allure for me. It is easy for me to fal into despair about so much of what is made these days and the various systems within which it is made. I was very disheartened to see a lot of work that loked exactly like the things we used to program at New Langton Arts in San Francisco in 85. It made me fel like what was the point of the artist run space? Surely not to codify this gently “experimental” approach into something that would reproduce itself endlessly. Again and Again I found myself up against the question of why? Why are you performing this action, engaging with this material? Why does it matter to you? There is so much half hearted art going on out there.
Luckily, on Saturday I also got to see the antithesis of all that: Robert Gober’s new show. It is very, very tough, beautiful in places and willfuly unlovable in others. And it is exactly about the dilemmas of living in this time right now, amidst the traumas of of war and death, and the indignities of their trivialization. There is much in it about religion and also much about faith. Gober takes Christianity seriously as an idea, something that most artists these days would never allow themselves. The show has much about mirrors and mirroring, about mimicry, nourishment and it’s lack and the fragility of humanity. It would take me too long to describe every piece, as there are quite a few and their mutual interactions would be enough to fill a small book. However, it was very good to have doldrums confounded by someone who is actually thinking and feeling.
For those of you in the area, it’s well worth your while to go see it.