Christine Catsifas, Outland, Adhesive Vinyl, Photo AFC
A virtual silent jungle awaits gallery goers who wish to pee in the Art in General bathrooms this month, an experience sure to inspire long lines once people get wind of it. Apparently the impressive aspect of this work shows up in the methods of image rendering; in this case game software creates “fantasy within the ordinary.” Such attribution makes it hard to know which aspect to dislike more: the fact that video games have enough art world cache that merely evoking the name can lend legitimacy to an art work, or that viewers are being asked to contemplate rec-room wallpaper as art. Either way, the piece isn’t winning any points with us.
Judi Werthein, Corporate Logo, Installation view, Photo AFC
Add to that no point list everything else on display at Art in General. Judi Werthein’s Corporate Logo uses a rug to “transform” the exhibition space into a corporate lobby. If ever there was a piece that said “this carpet cost the exact amount of my grant”, this would be it; minus two plinths, it’s the only object in the space. Granted the rug looks good, if dated, but it certainly isn’t enough to hold a room together.
I kept wishing for some bad corporate art, and a flat screen set to a 24 hour news station. At least then the piece would have looked like a little research had been invested. UPDATE: In light of a considered post by Tom Moody and offline conversation with b., I have come to the conclusion I was unfairly harsh on this piece. The installation still fails to move me greatly, but given that it was never the artists intention to make a pointed comment on corporate America, but rather the “corporatization of culture”, it’s pointless to ask for a more accurate representation of a lobby.
The Art in General splash page. Screengrab AFC
Notably, the TV (I no longer advocate) would have also represented the only functioning objects in the gallery. Both the toilets and the computer provided in the archive room weren’t working. Had I been able to find the wireless connection, I would have been able to peruse the newly designed Art in General website – a project I assumed fell under the umbrella of Werthein’s Corporate Logo. A gallery assistant informed me yesterday though that the new United Colors of Benetton meets Art in General website was in fact permanent and only Werthein’s logo will be replaced. Too bad. As a farcical statement on corporate identity on the web the site wouldn’t be a bad piece, as a serious branding effort, the non-profit has more than few problems to address.