Friday, July 2, 2010

Displaying Vito Acconci's 'Seedbed' today

In a recent blog post, Lindsay Pollock talks about the new show going up at MoMA that draws exclusively from their permanent collection. It also includes 66 works that MoMA owns but has never displayed before, one of which is Vito Acconci's 'Seedbed'.

'Seedbed' was a performance piece Acconci did in the early 70s at Sonnabend Gallery in which he lived under a slanted platform and masturbated for the duration of the show. He would then fantasize about the people walking above him and his words were broadcast throughout the gallery. I was trying to figure out how MoMA was going to recreate this piece - was Vito himself going to revisit this piece, were they going to construct a ramp and hire someone to pleasure themself a la Acconci? The answer it turns out is simple - I emailed Lindsay Pollock and they said they are showing the video. Lame.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fear of Flying coming to cwp

Euan Maddonald, Two Planes, 1998, single-channel video installation with sound.

For immediate release: February 25, 2010

Fear of Flying: Josh Azzarella, Stacey M. Holloway and Euan Macdonald
at christopher west presents.

Indianapolis, IN - February 25, 2010: christopher west presents is delighted to announce Fear of Flying, a three-person exhibition featuring the work of New York-based Josh Azzarella, Indianapolis-based Stacey M. Holloway, and Los Angeles-based Euan Macdonald. An opening reception will take place on Thursday, March 18, from 5 until 8 p.m.

For the first-ever group exhibition at the gallery, Fear of Flying brings together three artists from different parts of the country and at different stages in their careers. In his seminal video piece, “Two Planes,” filmed in 1998, Macdonald digitally superimposed a duplicate image of a flying plane that shadows the original, which lends the work a haunting significance. This video elucidates his knack for finding evocative content in ordinary subject matter. Through the manipulation of historical imagery, Azzarella creates stills and videos that radically alter the contexts and meanings of images ingrained in the public conscience. In “Untitled #9 (W.T.P.1),” (2006) Azzarella has altered the events of September 11, 2001, frame by frame, causing the viewer to revisit that tragic day and wonder how our world might be different if the planes had missed the Twin Towers. Holloway’s site-specific installations communicate an emotional discomfort within her own life, a disconnect between the physical world she operates in and the internal world she lives in. For her, passenger planes represent fears and anxieties, while scale models convey a child’s perspective.

Euan Macdonald was born Edinburgh, Scotland, 1965, and lives and works in Los Angeles. He has had numerous solo shows in international museums and galleries including Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto; Kunstbunker Kinstverein, Nuremberg; as well as major group shows, Treble, 2004, Sculpture Center, Queens, NY; Irreducible, 2005, The Wattis Center for Contemporary Art, San Francisco; Seville Biennale, 2004; Gimme Shelter, Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; Fresh, 2000, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY; and 010101: Art in Technological Times, SF MoMA, 2001.

Josh Azzarella was born in Ohio and currently lives and works in New York City. Solo and group exhibitions include DCKT Contemporary (New York); Mark Moore Gallery (Santa Monica, CA); Vancouver Art Gallery (British Columbia); Kavi Gupta Gallery (Chicago); Akademie der K√ľnste (Berlin). He was the recipient of the 2006 Emerging Artist Award from The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CT). His work is included in the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Stacey M. Holloway was born in South Bend, Indiana and has recently completed her Master of Fine Arts at the University of Minnesota with an emphasis in sculpture. Within the program, she received a Graduate School Fellowship, the Katherine E. Nash Studio Art Scholarship, and the Pioneer Scholarship to support her studies. Additionally, Holloway also received a Graduate Research Partnership Fellowship with Professor Wayne E. Potratz to complete Inter-Connections in Art Through Metalcasting, a collaborative project between the Interact Center and the University of Minnesota's Department of Art foundry.

Special thanks to RCA Television for providing the technology for this exhibition.

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.


christopher west presents
646 Massachusetts Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rx for a Healthy Art Scene: Part 1 - the IMA blog

A few days ago I posted a list by Renny Pritikin on his 23 ingredients needed for a healthy art scene. The first issue I would like to talk about is not actually on the list, but if we are going to be Indy-centric we'll need to adapt the list to our specific needs. For our purposes, I would like to combine number 17 and 18.

17 - we need articulate artist leaders & 18 - we need heroes, iconoclasts, villains (people everyone loves to hate). Essentially, we need someone or something to lead the charge and a centralized location in which to praise, hate, vent about what is happening here locally. For quite some time it appeared the local arts blog On the Cusp might turn out to be just such a place, and in fact it still is a place that at times provides invaluable information and even some criticism from time to time. Unfortunately, with no budget and only volunteer contributors lead by Scott Grow, it becomes nearly impossible to consistently provide relevant information on a regular basis, as noted by the dozen or so posts so far in 2010. Other sites with potential have popped up and most have gone away nearly as fast as they arrived. With one exception - the Indianapolis Museum of Art Blog.

The IMA is a national and international leader in so many areas. From ArtBabble, to 100 Acres, to hosting extraordinary exhibitions in contemporary art and design, certainly the IMA deserves the praise they get from across the globe. What I would like to see is their blog take more of a leadership role in the local community just as their programming is taking a leadership role among other institutions. And since they already keep up with regular posting, they seem to at least have the infrastructure set up to do just that.

They already do some fabulous posts - I'm thinking in particular the posts about acquisitions and conservation - but a serious critique about the arts in Indy is what's needed. From new economic developments that install not very inspiring sculptures outside their shiny new doors, to the local artist that has a fantastic exhibition but gets little traffic, to calling out non-profits and art collectives and galleries that aren't pulling their weight. Yes, an authoritative voice that calls on us all to collectively raise the bar could help work wonders.

This post in particular was inspired by SFMOMA's blog Open Space and their discussion of the possible closing of the 30+ year old non-profit New Langton Arts. Having lived across the street from New Langton it held (and holds) a special place in my heart. Truly a place that had a major impact on my life. But after 3 decades it's mission was in question and some of the groundbreaking exhibitions they were pioneering early on were now being done by the larger institutions like SFMOMA and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. It was the discussion on SFMOMA's blog that asked the tough questions regarding New Langton, like is it still relevant or even necessary in 2010? Indy doesn't have decades-old experimental non-profits like New Langton or Southern Exposure (also in San Francisco) - but it does have a need for a place we can all turn to to discuss our triumphs and our tragedies. And given the time constraints of maintaining a volunteer blog, let alone facebook, twitter, etc., the IMA may be the only place this can happen.

It's certainly not as easy as it sounds - you never know when you might step on a donor's (or potential donor) toes, but I think it's possible. Maybe start by joining with On the Cusp and don't be afraid to piss some people off. It's just a thought, but I think it's a good place to start.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Local news

Two pieces of news from the Indianapolis Business Journal worth pointing out:

First, Lou Harry in his A&E blog draws attention to the Phister Hotel in Milwaukee that now provides an artist-in-residence program. They provide studio space, a monthly stipend as well the opportunity to show the artist's work. On the surface it seems like a great idea, the danger I have seen in similar situations is that work is often safe and not very exciting. I think there is real potential here if the artist chosen is relevant in a contemporary art sense and someone who will actually add something to the local art scene and discourse.

Second, the Indianapolis Cultural Trail gets $20.5 million in federal stimulus funds. This puts the Trail $7.5 million above it's original goal of $55 million. Congrats to all involved on raising the funds - NOW LET'S FINISH THE EAST END OF MASS AVE! I feel really bad for the merchants down there that have been cut off from the rest of the Avenue.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Prescription for a Healthy Art Scene

I came across the below image while doing some research on my old stumping grounds in California. This list was written by Renny Pritikin for Proximity Magazine. Although it was written (I believe) for the SF Bay Area, I think there is a lot we can take from this list and apply directly to Indianapolis. A quick glance at the list will reveal there is a lot more ground to cover in Indy if we are to make this happen. In the coming weeks I'll pick out a few tidbits and try to expand on what I think we are doing locally or should be doing locally. For now, take a look at the list in it's entirety (click on image for a larger view).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Auction alert

Thanks to Lindsay Pollock, I found this Chris Johanson that is going up for auction at Freeman's in Philly as part of the Lehman Brother's sale. For those in the Johanson market it might be worth picking up the phone and bidding on this one. It's estimate is $300 - $500. I'm guessing it will go for quite a bit more than that but worth a shot - it's an edition of 40 and still available through Paulson Press for $3000.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Things I'm reading

I haven't had much time to completely follow all the arts news/blogs recently, let alone write about it, but here are a few things that have been on my radar:
  • The big news this past week was the record breaking price set at an art auction for Giocometti's Walking Man 1. It was such big news that the artwork was actually P1 above the fold in the Wall Street Journal. The most interesting read however was in the Telegraph where they ask if Giocometti is really better than Picasso?
  • Jerry Saltz makes Tino Sehgal's art at the Guggenheim cry. I plan on tweeting about this show and other events happening during Armory weekend March 4th through the 6th. Follow me here.
  • Is Indy actually ready for contemporary architecture? Ball State University architecture professor Michel Mounayar thinks the new J.W. Marriott will help.
  • On a sad note, I don't think I've ever gone to the Indianapolis Museum of Art when this treasure hasn't been on their walls. Losing to the Saints last night in the Super Bowl felt about as good as the time I stepped on a rusty nail, this reminds me of what the tetanus shot felt like.
  • Like many of you, I have long been a huge fan of the Urbanophile (Aaron Renn). If you don't know him yet, be sure to read David Hoppe's Q&A with Aaron in Nuvo and start reading his blog.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Performance at Family Dollar Tomorrow

An artist stopped by yesterday to give me the above poster (which is in color but for some reason my scanner is only scanning b&w - go figure). It seems there is a performance happening tomorrow night at 7 pm in the parking lot of the Family Dollar at 1836 East 10th Street.

I've never watched performance art in the parking lot of a Family Dollar and the prospect has me quite excited. Unfortunately, I can't make it. So you should go. And tell me about it. And video tape it...

Sadly, I didn't even get the artist's name. And if you can't tell from the above scanned image, the official title is "DESIRE or, How you look lying in your bed (in dark), as I close the door: down the stairs, out into the street, again (at night)." Seriously, go.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Museum Superbowl Madness

Jean-Valentin Morel, image via IMA website

For those of you not following Tyler Green via facebook, twitter or his blog, you'll probably be interested to know he has challenged the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the New Orleans Museum of Art to place a bet on the upcoming Superbowl.

IMA Director Max Anderson was the first to respond, offering to loan a contemporary painting by Ingrid Calame to the New Orleans museum for three months should the Saints somehow beat the Colts. NOMA Director quickly responded by offering a "three month loan of its $4 million Renoir painting, Seamstress at Window, circa 1908, which is currently in the big Renoir exhibition in Paris."

How has Max responded? "We'll see the sentimental blancmange by that 'China Painter' and raise you a proper trophy: a Jean-Valentine Morel jeweled cup (pictured above), which won the Grand Medal at the 1855 Paris World Fair."

Stay tuned.

Pollock at SFMOMA

SFMOMA's blog has a great post about acquiring Jackson Pollock's Guardians of the Secret in 1945 (via Tyler Green). This is when I find institutional blogs the most interesting. Read it.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Top 10 art events in Indy - 2009 edition

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

Yes we are a couple weeks into the new year, but with all the changes happening in the local art scene (make sure to read the always brilliant David Hoppe's State of the Arts address) I've been thinking a lot about 2009. As hard hit as we were, there were some definite highlights. Obviously opening my own gallery was my biggest personal highlight so I will leave that one off and concentrate on what was happening in the rest of the city. I'm also hoping some of the other local arts bloggers will add their own opinions. With no further ado, here's my list:

10 - Adaptation: Video Installations by Ben-Ner, Herrera, Sullivan & The Rufus Corporation at the IMA. This exhibition, organized by the Smart Museum in Chicago, brought the work of four prominent contemporary artists that (as far as I can recall) had not been seen in Indiana. One of my fondest memories of the year was watching Guy Ben-Ner's video with my girlfriend and her two sons. Spanning the ages from 5 to 37, we were all enthralled.

9 - Installation Nation by Primary Colours. Primary Colours was certainly not the first group to show art in shipping containers, but they were certainly the first in Indianapolis and the best example of showing work in a non-traditional venue in 2009. Keep it up PC and I'm looking forward to more innovative thinking in 2010.

8 - George Rickey: An Evolution by the Indianapolis Arts Council. I wasn't expecting to like this show. We've all seen Rickey's kinetic sculptures in museums across the country and in our back yard. But to see them in an urban environment - that was different. And it was beautiful.

7 - Optical Popsicle by Know No Stranger. What happens when a group of smart art students get together and want to do something different in this city? Optical Popsicle happens and it was brilliant. If you didn't attend the event, click the link and watch the two minute video - you'll be sorry you missed it.

6 - Bootleg Exhibitions. Highlighting some of the strongest local talent and combining them with great artists from elsewhere. Yeah, we need more of that!

5 - Jen Davis at iMOCA. Jen Davis is good. Real good. And we got to see this rising art star early in her career in Indianapolis first. Her explorations of self are powerful and compelling. As an aside, there was another exhibition by a photographer who like Davis received their MFA from Yale - Craig Doty at my gallery. I know I said I wasn't going to include my shows at the gallery but it was a great one too so I'll leave it at that.

4 - Mt. Comfort (a space for champions). Truly a labor of love for Casey Roberts who dedicates part of his studio to host exhibitions from artist both near and far. Experimental, exciting and fresh. Thanks Casey.

3 - European Design since 1985: Shaping the New Century at the IMA. Apparently when the IMA hired Craig Miller as Design Curator they also decided his first exhibition in Indy should be a blockbuster. This didn't disappoint. For me this exhibition was truly an inspiration and a look into design's potential here in Indianapolis. I probably visited the show a dozen times during it's run here and sat amazed at the speakers during the symposium. If you missed any of it, you can watch the speakers on ArtBabble and go buy the catalog. Fingers crossed that Craig and the IMA can keep the spotlight on Indy a little longer.

2 - Herron School of Art and Design. Initially this might seem like an odd choice given that Herron has been around for a long time, but a closer inspection shows 2009 as a banner year for the institution. I've consistently said that if the arts are going to thrive (or, for that matter, even survive) in Indy, Herron needs an MFA program. As they are slowly making this happen by rolling out graduate programs over the different departments we are starting to see the fruits of their labor. It seems that this is paying off big time. The students and the faculty are turning out better work and this trickles down to all layers of art in the city - from the exhibitions at the school itself to the smallest local gallery. Couple this with the smart programming of curator Paula Katz and the bar has been raised. Hallelujah.

1 - The Casting by Omer Fast at the IMA. This is why we love museums. And, in my opinion, the most significant purchase by the contemporary department not only of the year but maybe of the decade. A beautiful and disturbing piece that completely sums up the first decade of the new century. As much as I love visiting this piece about every other week (I'm sick, I know) I'm almost looking forward to the time when it goes into storage, lays dormant for awhile, and then is displayed anew so I can recapture that feeling I had from the first time I saw it. Thanks Lisa Freiman and keep 'em coming!

I know I didn't see all the art in town over the past year but I did see a lot. Feel free to add any of your favorites in the comments.