Tuesday, February 21, 2012

the other biennial?

On Friday I headed out to the Decordova Art Musuem which has its own "biennial" featuring New England based contemporary artists. The museum itself is a lovely space with an extensive outdoor sculpture "garden" (really too big to be called a garden.)

I was intrigued to see the show to see what are young interesting New England artists doing? I was happy to see that some of them are doing lots of interesting things. Probably in truth I like this biennial as much as I will like the "Big" one. Which means there is some work that I like and plenty that is "ok."
I am never overwhelmed with joy by the whitney biennial or similar shows as the general lack of narrative, personal, and emotional art leaves me a little bored. These types of shows as many in Chelsea do right now seem to be only of the slick and academic coneceptualism which after seeing it 100 times is not so smart and interesting.

There were a few stand outs at the Decordova -the work by conceptual artist Joe Zane dealt with both the ambitions and rejections of being an artist but also felt like a sarcastic and boring quib at the same time. I like the work in one way in which it made me think about the idea of second tier cities and how caught up in it we as artists and collectors and gallerists get but then it also made me think maybe if we did not get so caught up in it there would not be such a huge divide. I do not think I would have had such an interesting response to the work if I myself had not just chosen to move away from the art behemoth of nyc.

There were some quilted works by Anna Von Mertens. In some ways they make me think of Jessica Ranking but without the flaws and vulnerability. In her statement she says:

...I research further and uncover phenomena in isolated fields of study that mirror information about my own private world. I then translate this empirical data into a subjective version to reflect the parallels I see... These patterns reveal to me aspects of our existence, whether it is how we experience time and face the infinite - embedded in that is our own mortality - or how the boundary of the body is presented to others versus how it is felt internally...I see all of these elements as a form of mapping, reflecting the need to get my own bearings in this vast universe.

An interesting piece by Jessica Gath in which she wraps presents brought by museum visitors for them and then returns them wrapped. This is from a larger performance/installation series called for you which led to this very cool interactive project. I would like to see the performance live.

Some work by Lauren Kalman who has now left the area for the midwest.

Then finally Chris Taylor an extremely innovative glass blower maker who makes some pretty intelligent and awesome conceptual glass work. From mailed glass envelopes, to "ripped" bubble wrap. Sadly very little web presence so no good images to share. I definitly appreciated his work but in many ways feel its conceptual strength is missed by the random viewer as it is so closely connected with the history and "craft" of glass.

and last but not least the South End Knitters a yarn bombing group who says they are most interested in adding cheer to their community. Read an article on them here.

The show had an interesting and not glowing review here...
and another review here.


Ansie said...

I want to ask something about this whole issue of 'you have to be in NY to be recognized as an artist'. As a non American and someone who has never been in NY or the US, it seems very narrow-minded to me. Surely there are some great artist who never comes near NY and yet have a very successful career. Case in point the Iranian artist you featured a while back. Don't you think you are holding yourself back by hanging on the NY art scene? Shouldn't you explore the art world beyond NY?
As I said - I'm just asking because NY has never been a reference point for me.

Joetta M. said...

ansie- thank you so much for your comment and you are TOTALLY correct. The problem is that any good graduate program essentially pounds it into your head that you cannot have a good career unless you live in NYC. The gallery system in the US puts a lot of preference to NYC based artists. For instance here in Boston you are more likely to get gallery representation if you are in NY then if you are a local artist. So this mythology of NYC gets perpetuated by the academic system, the institutions, and the galleries across the country. I did not go to school in NYC but got told the entire time I HAD to move there to have a career. But I have now realized that we perpetuate this problem and mythology by all buying into it and instead of building our own artistic communities we look somewhere else. And this is the unfortunate thing. But you are so right and I myself am finally coming around to that truth.