Killing The Poor and Eating The Rich: NYC’s Artbus

by Art Fag City on March 11, 2010 · 2 comments Posting Notice + Reviews


Democracia, Eat The Rich, Kill The Poor. New York, 2010, (photographer: Rodrigo Pereda)

Democracia, Eat The Rich, Kill The Poor. New York, 2010, (photographer: Rodrigo Pereda)

Eat The Rich, Kill The Poor. That’s what I always say, so why not immortalize those words on a stretch limo? Thanks to Raul Martinez for ensuring that chore was completed during last week’s fairs.

This year’s Artbus tour was much the same as last year if you replace Deitch Project’s Kanye West and Vanessa Beecroft collaboration with a car hood reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s Peter Pan golf cart, a bunch of crappy Josh Smith wall paintings and a guided tour by curator Fionn Meade at the Sculpture Center.  I won’t bother discussing Smith’s work at any length as it’s not worth the effort. They’re the worst from of Eureka! art, the artist’s only trick being that by removing the canvas, he negates their objecthood and commodity status. So what. I didn’t like his work in Younger Than Jesus for similar reasons.

Meade’s exhibition had a little more to it, even if the presentation amounts to a bunch of hot artists shrouded in art speak. Titled “Leopards in the Temple” or in short, “moments of metamorphosis, paradox, and formal adjacency, borrowing from the parable an ability to promote multiple readings of succinct forms and extraordinary occurrences,” one got the impression Meade had read a fair amount about the artists in the show, but asked himself relatively few questions about what he saw or even what connections he was trying to make. Past providing a garbled regurgitation of press material about the participating artists as answers to questions, remove the art speak from the show’s press release, and Meade’s interests are ridiculously broad. Transformation, contradiction, things next to other things, multiple readings, the extraordinary — it’s basically theme-less exhibition.

Considering this, the show is better than one would expect, albeit not terribly original. Sparsely dispersed over two floors, the show looks like a lot of art does right now: carefully arranged, ugly-pretty, and knowingly derivative. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this, though I might as well go on record with the thought that it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to seek out a little more innovation.

Still, there’s more good work than not in this exhibition. To Meade’s credit he managed to find the few Patrick Hill sculptures in existence that don’t look bound for corporate lobbies — these are a little too gritty for that — and paired them with Kitty Kraus’s geometric flat floor pieces made of suits. Also effective is Strauss Bourque-LaFrance’s static monument in grotesque lighting conditions, Night Stick. The work consists of a Mikhail Baryshnikov portrait attached to figurative mound of plaster under a tube of florescent light.

Kathrin Sonntag’s Tango, a video which shows, in slow motion, the successful ripping of a table cloth from under a set table, is unexpectedly enjoyable to watch, as is João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva’s film compiling real world illusions and magic tricks, Paramagnetism. Past DAS INSTITUTE‘s tiresome fictional import-export business schtick, the only real sticking point in this show worth mentioning comes from Latifa Echakhch’s “reductions”, which consist only of pile of colorful broken glass along a wall.

Of course as I mentioned last year, the beauty of the Artbus, is that participants can always retreat to the bar in a car, should they tire of broken glass or a guided tour of an exhibition better . It’s a relaxed tour — The Fisher Landau Center and PS1 were hit as well — but following the relaxed nature of the group, I ducked out early to see The Independent. As it turned out, that was a pretty good call on my part.


Peter March 16, 2010 at 7:03 am

Kanye West and Vanessa Beecroft collaboration? I feel nauseous.

Peter March 16, 2010 at 3:03 am

Kanye West and Vanessa Beecroft collaboration? I feel nauseous.

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