Sometimes you like an artist’s work so much that it takes a while to get enough critical distance from it to be able to gage how good it is. Having spent the last two weeks wrestling with Christian Jankowski’s latest exhibition at The Kitchen, I feel safe in saying that he is one such artist. I did however, manage to come up with a few thoughts on the subject, which you can read below, but as always, go to The Reeler for the full report.
Some art just doesn't age well. Who's to say what lasts and what doesn't; it's impossible to predict cultural interest seven days from now, much less seven years, but this doesn't mean you don't notice when that thing you thought was totally awesome doesn't seem all that great any more. Knowing that video artist Christian Jankowski's new works in the exhibition Us and Them are up at The Kitchen, I'd recently been questioning whether his work suffered from this problem; after all, the artist's proclivity for involving non-artists in his practice seemed a lot more unconventional to me previously than it does now. Was Jankowski’s Telemistica — simply featuring him asking fortune tellers questions like “What will people think of my work?” for the 1999 Venice Biennial — too easy? Could we say the same of The Holy Artwork, his 2001 performance piece made in which he played dead on the stage of televanglist pastor Peter Spencer, who creepily preached to his congregation about how God is the bridge between art, religion and television?
The answer to these questions is an uncertain “No,” because like so much art, with age it becomes much more about the preservation of cultural concerns than it is about some joke that initially inspired the piece. But viewing Us and Them, Jankowski’s exhibition focusing on the theme of horror, made me wonder anyhow because he employs similar methods (namely collaboration) with results not nearly as interesting as they were years ago.
Read the full article here.