Matthew Barney's new film Drawing Restraint 9 is now screening at the Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta. With music by Bjork this collaboration is not to be missed. In the Bennifer and Branjelina tradition: Bjorney? Bjortthew? Matthork?
Friday night is a big bight for art in the ATL. Castleberry is having its art stroll and Atlanta art-star Sarah Hobbs opens at Solomon.
At Garage Projects, B.E. Schellinger presents PACKAGED FOR CONVENIENCE (the smell of fear) as a follow up to last year's "Sugar Monkey" (News flash: before he and I head off to Portland, Bryan has sewn up a solo show at Romo in January 2007. Romo features Jennifer Celia this month)
From Schellinger's press release:
THE SMELL OF FEAR IS A SITE SPECIFIC, TIME SENSITIVE WORK THAT WILL INVOLVE DAISIES, CHAIRS, SOUND, WATER, VIDEO, AND LIGHT, TO SUGGEST A REFLECTIVE INNER FEAR. THIS INNER FEAR WILL CAUSE CERTAIN VIEWERS TO RELEASE THEIR OWN FEAR IN THE FORM OF SCENT. THIS PLUS THE PREVAILING FEAR BROUGHT IN FROM OUTSIDE THE SPACE, WILL BE ENHANCED THROUGH THE USE OF SOUND, BY MYSELF AND LUNAR ECLETIK.
FROM ALL THIS, A CERTAIN MUST WILL ARISE, THAT CAN THEN BE EASILY PACKAGED, AND SOLD TO THE CONSUMING PUBLIC, AS A NEW AND IMPROVED VERSION.
THREE SIZES WILL BE OFFERED XL, XXL, XXXL.
Sarah Hobbs highly anticipated show at Solomon Projects opens Friday as well. Her show entitled "Does This Sound Like You" will feature new work created over the last few years. From the site, the work appears to be an expansion of her earlier "Problems In Living" series. Hobbs has received considerable national attention in the last year or two and I for one am looking forward to the new work.
Finally Marcia Wood is featuring a retrospective by the tantalizingly-named collective "Golden Blizzard". I presume that the work will be about pissing in an ice storm. Actually I have no idea what to expect, but I can't wait to see it.
Although not open Friday night, Jackson Fine Art has a strong show up by two of today's contemporary masters, Larry Sultan ("The Valley") and Mitch Epstein ("Recreation"). The shows will be up until the end of June.
The lucky few who attended Roger Ballen's talk last night at the High's Hill Auditorium aren't likely to forget the experience any time soon. More of a theatrical monologue than a lecture, Ballen delivered his hour-long performance in a style that was part Vincent Price, part William S. Burroughs and seemed designed to transport listeners inside their own "shadow chambers", that dark part of your mind where Ballen's images exist and that most of us avoid whenever possible. It really was an astonishing experience. Ballen, whose face appeared somewhat skeletal when illuminated only by the podium's reading light, spoke in low-key manner and delivered tightly cropped statements that alternated between comments about the people and places in his work ("...then this man stopped eating and drinking...no one cared or noticed...ten days later he was dead too.") to observations on photography ("The better the visual relationships [in a photo], the less you can say about the work.") to semi-patronizing inquisitions of the audience ("...you eat meat don't you...you're a killer too..."). Ballen's (intentional?) facial tic - baring his upper teeth - added to the already menacing atmosphere of the performance. Ballen succeeded in making the audience both uncomfortable and introspective so that his photographs resonated more personally. He seems to want viewers to look at his work not with a detached voyeuristic eye: his images are not of some far away freak show but instead are right next door, inside the dark corners of all our psyches, one place that Ballen must believe people should allow themselves to visit more often. I just might. Maybe.
There is still time to see Ballen's photographs currently on display at the Atlanta College of Art Gallery. I'm already writing my top ten of 2006 list and this show will be hard to topple from the number one spot. While everyone else seems to be making big, digitally-perfected color photographs, Ballen is creating his own electrifying chapter of modernist history.
Ballen is represented in Atlanta by Jackson Fine Art who has signed copies of his latest book "Shadow Chamber" available at the gallery.
Fay Gold's current show is entitled "The Art of Investing in Art" and presents work by over 40 artists that the gallery is recommending as good investment choices. The show consists of a mix of blue chip contemporary artists such as John Baldessari and James Rosenquist along side many artists represented by Gold. There is some terrific work in this show, especially the Baldessari editions and a photograph by Zhang Huan. And Tracey Moffat's piece from her Adventure series is a treat. The show though, presents a very confusing message about what constitutes investment quality art. I agree that Gold took the right approach mixing famous and truly investment-grade names with lesser-known-but-promising artists that the gallery believes to be good bets for the future. Its the lesser-known artists that I have a problem with. Not with the work, but with the criteria for choosing them, which was non existent. There was absolutely no reason to select the included artists over any others in Gold's stable. If I were one of Gold's represented artists that didn't get featured in the show, I'd be pretty unhappy. If I were one of Gold's clients that collected work by the unselected artists, I'd be pretty unhappy too. Tell me Fay Gold, why Rocio Rodriguez and not Carolyn Carr? Why Ruth Dusseault and not Micheal Gibson? Why Zoe Hersey and not Tony Hernandez? Why Rana Rochat and not Robert Jessup? This is a no win show. Gold has lost credibility by arbitrarily including artists from her stable while excluding others with equal skill and resumes and in turn has alienated her own artists and clientele. I don't have a beef about the show, its actually not a bad show (although it looks suspiciously like her recent inventory clearance sale; oops I mean 25th anniversary show); but I do have a problem with the arbitrary selection of the works. If you are buying work with an eye to investment, this show won't help you formulate a methodology one bit.
Having said all this, including a work by Ed Mapplethorpe, Robert's brother, in this type of show is just silly. I know Fay Gold hit some home runs early in her career, but hawking Ed Mapplethorpe as investment grade art is a strike out.
Brian Holcombe and his Saltworks Gallery have knocked it out of the park again with the sensational two-diva exhibition by iona rozeal brown and Stella Vai. Both artists have very strong things to say about very different topics in very different voices, but yet managed to put together an exhibit where both are heard clearly without harshing the other's vibe...not an easy trick. To top it off, brown and Vai collaborated on a massive mural painted directly on the gallery's east wall mixing the traditions of the east with the grit of the street that, in part, recounted the history of hip hop combined with a cautionary tale of the trappings of bling-love. The opening was packed and people kept coming in waves to see what these rising stars had put together. brown is clearly the draw in Atlanta after her stunning show at Spellman a few years ago and you gotta give her props for so graciously sharing the spotlight with Vai. This is one of Saltworks finest moments (and there have been many); I have to admit that Brian Holcombe along with the now-exiled Carolan Schwartz have largely been responsible for developing my eye. I'll give credit where credit is due. I might still be buying from _ _ _ _ Gallery if it weren't for them! There are a lot of hot shows up in Atlanta now that I hopefully will get blogged soon: David Humphrey at Solomon, Bryce Hammond at Trinity, Ryan Burkhart at Ty Stokes and Robert Sagerman at Marcia Wood. Go see them all, but if you only see one, its iona and Stella that's not to be missed.
Three exhibits on Peters Street marked the high point of Atlanta's citywide gallery openings on Feb 3. Each exhibit was tough, complex, visually demanding and in truth, surprising to been seen so close to one another in a city like Atlanta.
First, at Romo Gallery, Juan Miguel Ramos exhibited a video and several digital prints that were based on "loteria" cards, a popular Mexican board game. Ramos replaced the game images with comic-book-like portraits of his friends set in San Antonio neighborhoods. The work "documents the layered complexity of the Latino identity in an American city." The idea of cards in deck is crucial to the work and the portraits function best in a group.
Garage Projects presented "Participant: Speed Culture" a live performance
directed by Michael Gibson with invited New York sound artist, Ian Epps. The performance piece featured a live speed chess game within
a specific sound environment. In this directed performance Gibson
investigates how the mind recalls memory by means of pattern
recognition- a concept he has explored in his painting since 2002.
Finally, Wertz Contemporary put together a group show that addressed issues of Black and Latino culture that was impressive for the scope of the work presented. This is not easy stuff and one has to give the gallery credit for mounting a completely un-sellable museum caliber show. Heck, if the museums here won't do it, I guess the galleries ought to. At left are works by William Cordova (foreground) and Carl Pope.
Do yourself a favor and broaden your horizons by checking out these shows.
ATL[art] sucks. period. These galleries aren't to blame. I wouldn't stay open either.
There were some great openings (mostly in Castleberry) with great art and I'll post an entry about those later, but by and large ATL[art] is nothing more than a brochure disguising as a month long series of events.
This year's events feature something for everyone! Well almost everyone. Maybe for some. One or two people are sure to like it.
I don't understand how in a city of 4 million people the "most dynamic event" of ATLart is ATLarthouse. ATLart's site doesn't feature any detailed information about the art actually in the art house but instead informs us all about the house: "a newly constructed, never before seen 11,000 square foot mansion on Glen Devon Drive". It even includes architectural elevations of the house! Give me a break.
It really is proof that Atlanta is a city about money and business and not at all about art.
A hot chick friend of mine (who shall remain anonymous) writes a blog exquis about all things French. At la dauphine, she also writes about art, tv, movies, books and whatever else is on her mind. An admitted francofile, I doubt she'll be calling them "freedom fries" any time soon. I have to be careful, for when I read her blog, I get the itch to hop on a plane to Paris, my favorite city on earth.
Anyhoo, she has some delightful and picture-filled entries about the Miami art circus that just ended from an Atlanta point of view. Check them out!