Every Monday, AFC publishes our recommended shows for the week. This week, we’re covering Dan Graham with Gunter Vogt at the Met, Coded After Lovelace at White Box, Boobie Trap (it’s a bar), and NURTUREart’s Multiplicity.
You can click on each review individually, as you like.
Dan Graham With Gunter Vogt
The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Roof Garden Exhibition
Dan Graham with Gunther Vogt
Runs through November 2, 2014
Dan Graham began making free-standing objects made of curved steel and glass back in the 1980s. He called these structures “pavilions” because they generally carved out an interior and exterior space the way a building might, but remained open enough that the space never felt quite enclosed. Often these structures were described as somewhere between sculpture and architecture.Now, I’ve never been all that interested in this work. Typically, they’re a curved piece of glass you can walk around, and the half-reflective surface will sort-of show a distorted reflection of your face—basically, it’s an invitation for a thousand art cliches about line blurring, the self, and an altered sense of time. I’d rather spend my time on more challenging art.
I was surprised, then, to find the Met’s rooftop commission by Dan Graham and Gunther Vogt to be such a pleasant experience. The piece includes a classic Dan Graham “pavilion,” “Hedge Two-Way Mirror Walkabout” along with a spongy fake grass terrain engineered by Vogt. After spending a bit of time wandering around the cement floors of the Met, a bit of time on anything soft is a welcome experience. Like many visitors, I sat on the grass with a friend and relaxed. I watched kids walk around Graham’s “pavilion”—a glassy S-shape structure flanked by ivy hedges—and marvel at their own reflection.
That may not sound like much but in the context of the Met’s rooftop, which is mostly a lure to get tourists to spend enormous amounts of money at the Martini Bar, it at least offers a kinder approach to visitors. And from the looks of the visitors I saw, most of whom spent an hour or more lounging around the grass, it was appreciated. —Paddy Johnson
Coded After Lovelace
Coded After Lovelace: Carla Gannis, Claudia Hart, Jillian Mayer, Rosa Menkman, Arleen Schloss, Lillian F. Schwartz
Curated by Faith Holland and Nora O’ Murchú
Whitebox Art Center
Runs through September 2, 2014
It might seem difficult to craft a survey of technology-informed art based on the work of just six artists spanning the 1970s to today. The field is much larger than the show. But parallels do emerge in several of the works by older and younger artists—regardless of whether they’re working in film, video, Photoshop, or code—that provide some insight into tech-and-art history. Arleen Schloss, whose “A.E. Bla Bla Bla” (1986) a collaged-video of performance, text, and a narrator giving a speedy “alphabetical journey all the way to eternity,” as the video’s narrator calls it, delves into the hyped-up reality of tech as faster than life; but that speed gets slowed down a bit in Olia Lialina’s “Summer.” Shown on three different computers, her GIF of a girl on a swing loads at different rates, therefore moving back and forth at different speeds. Another twinning moment occurs between the work of early computer-based filmmaker Lillian Schwartz whose films look like psychedelic journeys into the middle of a lava lamp, and Rosa Menkman’s videos of image-manipulation that look like glitch-y journeys of driving through some bizarre mountainscape.—Corinna Kirsch
Boobie Trap (This is a bar, not an art gallery.)
308 Bleecker Street
From now on, I’m going to call Bushwick “Bar-wick.” Over the last several months the number of bars opening up around the Knickerbocker M stop has gone from a quiet zero to too many. The latest to open up in this part of Bushwick—my neighborhood—is kinda art-themed. From the Tracey Emin-style “Fuck You” neon sign in hot pink to the boob-covered bathroom ceiling with a Barbie doll chandelier, there’s some mix of arty, pre-teen angst going on. Adding to this bar’s “artiness” is the number of art journalists frequenting the joint; me and AiA’s Brian Boucher make two.
What else should you know about the bar? There’s free crayons so that visitors can color in cartoon boobies, and board games galore like Scrabble and Jenga in case you need to move on to another project.
The Cut and the New York Post have already written up the bar, with the Cut going so far as to claim it’s a “great place for girls.” Um, not really. It’s a place for boob-lovers who are twee at heart. My recommendation: go for a chuckle. —Corinna Kirsch
Multiplicity: City as subject/matter
Runs through August 25 at NURTUREart
Runs through August 29 at Mixed Greens
Runs through August 27 at INVISIBLE-EXPORTS
Organized by NURTUREart
In Multiplicity, a three-part exhibition at Mixed Greens (Chelsea), INVISIBLE-EXPORTS (Chinatown), UnionDocs (Williamsburg), and NURTUREart, we see artists from Belfast, Hong Kong, New Delhi, New York, Tel Aviv, and Tirana take on the subject of the “city.” Organized by NURTUREart, the show includes over 20 artists, all of whom have something to say about the theme. What that boils down to depends on the artist. Belfast-based Nicholas Keogh’s video, “A Removals Job” (at NURTUREart), shows the artist and a crew comically demolishing an derelict building for an entire day—in this area of town, deserted by residents and police alike, nobody cares about their illegal construction. It’s one of the smartest, most revealing works in this show about the actual neglect of cities. Then, on the other hand, there are lesser works that merely document the city in the form of paintings or photography—this, I suppose, is one element that you’ll always have in an exhibition about “the city.” New York’s The Extrapolation Factory (Elliot P. Montgomery and Chris Woebken) partnered with schoolchildren at PS 147 to create cars that can help solve any number of social ills in the future. These cars (shown at INVISIBLE-EXPORTS) are crazy, materially-adventurous wonders to look at. It goes without saying, you don’t need to be an artist to be creative. —Corinna Kirsch