Friday, November 27, 2009

Comings and goings...

I was very sad to learn this week that one of the most insightful art, architecture and design blogs is going away. Richard Lacayo's Looking Around on will be no more. Richard will thankfully continue to write for Time Magazine.

But it's not all doom and gloom. For anyone slightly interested in the art market, Lindsay Pollock is a must read.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Coming soon to a city near you...

christopher west presents Lee Walton & the Ever-Changing Blues Band national tour. Details to be announced soon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Omer Fast at the IMA

Omer Fast, The Casting, 2007. Four channel video installation; 14 minutes.
Carmen & Mark Holeman Contemporary Fund, Henry F. and Katherine DeBoest Memorial Fund.
Installation view from 2008 Whitney Biennial, via James Wagner

I'm not sure if it's been on display at the IMA before or not (I'm pretty sure this is the first time), but after stumbling across The Casting, a four channel video installation by Omer Fast today, it instantly became one of my favorite pieces in the contemporary collection.

Not all of Fast's work has completely resonated with me but this piece is flawless in it's execution. Fast has intertwined two stories by the same person he interviewed in Texas as he was about to go out on his second tour of duty in Iraq. The subject tells of a brief romantic encounter he had with a psychotic young red head in Germany and how he accidentally shot an Iraqi civilian on his first tour. Certainly an overt commentary on America's participation in the war at the time this was created (2007), but Fast has made this piece highly personal. A war that is taking place thousands of miles away, with drone airplanes and laser guided missiles, is made all the more real and tangible by seemlessly coupling it with a story we can all relate.

I missed this piece at the Whitney last year, I'm glad I'll be able to make multiple trips to spend some q.t. with it now that it's in our backyard. Thanks IMA.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mystery solved

For those that read my last post, you know that I wondered what in the world Culture Grrl was doing in Indianapolis last week. Turns out she was speaking Max Anderson, director of the IMA about the Fairbanks Art and Nature Park. You can watch the interview here. Turns out there really was no scandal. Darn.

And should anyone want to hear me talk about art and Craig Doty's current show, check out Charles Fox's new blog, Outposts From the Material World. He's got like 47 times more readers than Culture Grrl, so you've probably already seen it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

CultureGrrl slip of the tongue?!?!

Certainly art blog readers around the world are familiar with CultureGrrl (aka Lee Rosenbaum). Lee is best known for her investigative reporting - from sketchy museum deaccessions to unethical practices, Lee is certainly one of the top in her field.

That why I was completely surprised to find out, via her own blog none the less, that CULTUREGRRL WAS IN INDIANAPOLIS LAST NIGHT! You can read the article here and scroll down about half way and see where she openly admits to spending the night in an undisclosed Indianapolis hotel room.

Now I want a few questions answered darn it!

- How was this trip funded? Were you influenced by someone purchasing ad space (which starts at a hefty $20/week) on your blog?
- Did a wealthy collector or famous artist curate your travels?
- Did you dine in one of our wonderful downtown restaurants or bistros OR DID YOU GO TO A CHAIN RESTAURANT BY THE MALL???

The public really wants to know (and PLEASE don't send out another press release that no additional information is available at this time). Geesh.

(disclaimer: for those readers who don't follow art world news/gossip on a daily basis like I do, this is satire. With all of the media attention on the New Museum, I thought I'd try and stir up some contraversy for Indy!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Women: New Work by Craig Doty

christopher west presents
is pleased to announce Women: New Work by Craig Doty. Opening reception will take place on Thursday, November 5th from 5 pm until 8 pm. The exhibition will run through November 28.

Excerpt from an essay by Marc LeBlanc:

Craig Doty has always held an interest in the powerless subject. This has typically taken the form of youths in group self-destruction, in situations of pure vanity, glory, and depravity. Resisting the overwrought casual aesthetic of any late-night party photographer, and the ease of such documentation, Doty's images use their contrivances to develop something more potent. Never moralizing, never sympathizing, they have the presence of an aestheticizing influence that evades being responsible or negligent, as ethically resigned as any one night stand, fist fight, or hearty three-day bender.
Two young men forcing another to eat a goldfish, or restraining a fat friend and pouring milk all over him, these are simple dramas that initially defined Doty's work. The images of drunken boys that have been "chiefed" draw from the same vein; their unconscious shit-faced faces vandalized with absurdly homophobic messages like "I Heart Cock" and "Nothing But Dude" make a travesty of young masculinity. Of course, Doty wouldn't let himself escape his approach. In one of his better known works, drunk coming down a wooden backyard staircase, Doty himself has slipped and fallen forward, smashing his 40 oz. and his face in the process. Where moments earlier he may have been holding court, we now stop to look at what a failure he has become, a reflexivity that acknowledges that no one escapes the fatalism of our world.
Made both magic and terrible, Doty's new photographs of women push for a greater discomfort. The tactics of humor have dissolved; the optimism of comedy is squelched. The grimace and sadistic chuckle that was present is absent, the aesthetic is now far more cynical. Caught between rough historical references to Balthus or Fragonard and the amateur soft-porn advertising that we commonly associated with brands like American Apparel, it would be easy to say these images are harsh parodies of the common sexism we find in mass media and art history, but that's simply not true. Locating this banal critique is a futile task, and rather than make a work so easily legible, Doty opts for something less explicable. The subjects, the women presented are without any power, without any right, without any value, so much so that they are better referred to as objects. Flattening the drama, each photo is isolated, its subject made prone and made tragic. (…)
While the exhibition’s smart-assed and antagonistic title might suggest otherwise, the images themselves defy being determined by gender. Each is aesthetic, prior to being political, and they demand this initial interpretation. What would otherwise be recognized as a subject is shown as an object. With each image pointing out that no one escapes life seeing them as an object, claims of discrimination are deadened. Being distinguished as an object rejects affiliation with any group, it is sexless, race-less, and hopeless in its dearth of humanity. Works like “Untitled 22” and “ Untitled 25” are epitomic of that. In the first, a woman wearing only a thong lies on the ground, the right leg slightly lifted, she's positioned facing away from us so that we know her only by form of her thighs and the black fabric that hides her crotch. While Doty's technical aptitude is ever present, the set looks slapdash, a painter roller still wet leans against the wall, and a plant gives the illusion of an ambiance. This is not portraiture, these are not models, any thematic pretenses for the purpose of dignity are unneeded when we address the subject whose fate is to be an object. Instead of the socially constructed victim, the marginalized or mistreated subject, what is presented is the subject so tragic it has no subjectivity to assert, determined to exist depersonalized, determined to be the waste they must become.

-Marc LeBlanc

Craig Doty received his MFA from Yale University in 2006. He earned his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a Concentration in Photography in 2003. His exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (solo), the Sydney Center for Photography in Sydney, Australia and Baumgartner Gallery, New York and many others. This is his first exhibition with the gallery. Images available upon request.

About christopher west presents

christopher west presents is a contemporary art gallery focusing on emerging regional and national artists. The intimate gallery space focuses primarily on solo exhibitions and artists’ projects. The gallery program is directed by Christopher West who has more than ten years experience in curating and selling contemporary art both in Indianapolis and in California. The gallery is located in the heart of the Massachusetts Avenue Arts District and is open to the public Wednesday 11 – 5, Thursday 11 – 7, Friday 11 – 5 and Saturday Noon – 4 or by appointment.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Where the Dirty Hipsters Are

Our friends at Bad at Sports brought this tidbit to our attention. Happy day after Halloween.