Monday moaning….

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.

0 Comments +

  1. Re: Confessions of a not-very-experienced gallery hopper

    At Matthew Marks Gallery:
    522 West 22nd Street
    Between 10th and 11th Avenues

    I’m very interested in what you’d would think of it. And I was just talking to Matt about it, so he’s thinking about going…

  2. Re: Confessions of a not-very-experienced gallery hopper

    At Matthew Marks Gallery:
    522 West 22nd Street
    Between 10th and 11th Avenues

    I’m very interested in what you’d would think of it. And I was just talking to Matt about it, so he’s thinking about going…

  3. “Gober takes Christianity seriously as an idea, something that most artists these days would never allow themselves.”

    It’s hard not to take it seriously considering its power.

    But I don’t think that’s what you’re saying…

  4. “Gober takes Christianity seriously as an idea, something that most artists these days would never allow themselves.”

    It’s hard not to take it seriously considering its power.

    But I don’t think that’s what you’re saying…

  5. Most contemporary artists treat christianity as a pernicious system of oppression, or as an embarrassment. They are more comfortable pointing out the failures of organized religion than talking about their own issues of faith. Gober is using the Christian symbols in a way that is niether mocking nor blindly reverent, something that rarely happens today.

  6. Most contemporary artists treat christianity as a pernicious system of oppression, or as an embarrassment. They are more comfortable pointing out the failures of organized religion than talking about their own issues of faith. Gober is using the Christian symbols in a way that is niether mocking nor blindly reverent, something that rarely happens today.

  7. I am beginning to think that we may have had a cultural shift where many folks are stuck in just being reactive to what is happening in the part of the world they attend to. Maybe that is why you are seeing the diminishment of the art you are expecting.

    Ugh I hate to even suggest it, but if you look at the way most people are approaching political discussions, well there really isn’t a discussion. It is a reaction positive or negative and most people will not be swayed. We have gone from expressing ourselves creatively and exploring the world of ideas to doing things to defend our belief structures.

    I am probably extrapolating too much – I was just thinking about talk radio and how when I was a little kid of the 60’s it was about learning, exploring, and entertainment, to nowadays when it seems to be mostly about ranting why the other is absolutely wrong. It seems like that is a theme of a lot of the interactions we have and it has crept into art as well. __deep sigh___

    Hopefully things will swing the other way soon especially with folks like you giving a better model to emulate and adapt.

  8. I am beginning to think that we may have had a cultural shift where many folks are stuck in just being reactive to what is happening in the part of the world they attend to. Maybe that is why you are seeing the diminishment of the art you are expecting.

    Ugh I hate to even suggest it, but if you look at the way most people are approaching political discussions, well there really isn’t a discussion. It is a reaction positive or negative and most people will not be swayed. We have gone from expressing ourselves creatively and exploring the world of ideas to doing things to defend our belief structures.

    I am probably extrapolating too much – I was just thinking about talk radio and how when I was a little kid of the 60’s it was about learning, exploring, and entertainment, to nowadays when it seems to be mostly about ranting why the other is absolutely wrong. It seems like that is a theme of a lot of the interactions we have and it has crept into art as well. __deep sigh___

    Hopefully things will swing the other way soon especially with folks like you giving a better model to emulate and adapt.

  9. Re: Confessions of a not-very-experienced gallery hopper

    At Matthew Marks Gallery:
    522 West 22nd Street
    Between 10th and 11th Avenues

    I’m very interested in what you’d would think of it. And I was just talking to Matt about it, so he’s thinking about going…

  10. Most contemporary artists treat christianity as a pernicious system of oppression, or as an embarrassment. They are more comfortable pointing out the failures of organized religion than talking about their own issues of faith. Gober is using the Christian symbols in a way that is niether mocking nor blindly reverent, something that rarely happens today.

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