Last year, MoMA’s Yoko Ono retrospective bombed by taking the fun (and guesswork) out of her work. But in Tierra de Esperanza at Muso Memoria y Tolerancia, Yoko Ono shines with work that’s interactive, alternately playful and political, and sometimes bizarre.
After tip-toeing through the trash at Charlemagne Palestine’s toyland next door at the Witte de With, I braced myself for another smarmy, high-concept dose of infantile and over-determined abjection before wandering into Ugo Rondinone’s “50 clowns in a big room” installation Vocabulary of Solitude. Well, face paint me surprised! I loved it.
Respect and admiration are very different forms of devotion. To wit: I respect Charlemagne Palestine’s long career as a sound and performance artist and his pivotal position in the emergence of spoken word/noise art in the 1970s. I do not, however, admire his visual art: maximalist assemblages of stuffed toys, found fabrics, and other clumps of tat. I wonder if I, or anyone else, is meant to?
Last weekend I attended a pop-up group show from Public Art Projects on a quiet industrial block of Juarez just south of the Material Art Fair on its last day. The group launched a pop-up exhibition that mischievously embraced site-specificity in a venue that is by nature the most mutable of non-places: a television studio.
With a snow storm threatening the weekend gallery goer routines of most New Yorkers, perhaps only the most intrepid will make out tomorrow and Sunday. But for those who haven’t yet seen today’s recommended shows—Katherine Bradford at CANADA and Drawing for Sculpture at Tiger Strikes Astroid (Bushwick) I have good news: both run through February 15th. You’ve got time.
And that’s a good thing, because pretty much any serious art lover in the city needs to see CANADA’s Katherine Bradford show, “Fear of Waves”.
Once a year “American Realness” takes over the Abrons Art Center to present two weeks of new and experimental dance-cum-performance. Last year, the pervasive theme running through the festival told a story of survival. It’s hard out there for an artist. This year, curator Ben Pryor assembled a group of performances focused on identity and institutional critique with a bit of self-reflexive formalism thrown in.
I saw too many performances to review, so what follows is a brief recap of my viewing, along with a few thoughts and reflections.
There are times when the apocalypse may be warranted. That’s a statement I never thought I’d even consider making, but after seeing M. Lamar’s stunning operatic masterpiece, “Destruction” at Abrons Art Center, I’ve come around on it. (The show runs tomorrow at 10 pm and is part of the American Realness Festival.) The libretto (co-written by Lamar and Tucker Culbertson) tells a retribution story from the perspective of a black descendent of slaves. Distraught over the loss of life that occurred during times of slavery, segregation and neo-segregation, he calls the dead back to life. When they wake, they are very, very unhappy.
Before entering Culture Administration & Trembling at the Abrons Arts Center last Thursday night I had to take off my shoes. Reverence for Dominique Pétrin’s handcrafted stage, and pretty much everything else that took place that night, was part of the social contract performers Jennifer Lacey, Antonija Livingstone, Dominique Pétrin and Stephen Thompson put forth.