Best and Worst of January 2009

It’s the first of February , we are officially in 2009 and no longer accidentally writing 2008 on out bank statements. And so, here we are 2009, you and me and half of our friends are looking for jobs or extra sources of income. Thankfully, most things to do in the visual arts are free. I went to see a dance performance at PS122 recently with some dancer friends of mine, it cost me $20, and it was disappointing to all of us. At least when the majority of art exhibitions, performances, talks, etc that I engage in are for free. That way I can enjoy both the good and the bad and still have a free glass o wine. Below is a little re-cap of free events that I found to be the best and worst of January 2009.

Best

EAI Acuires Kalup Lindzy videos
Kalup Lindzy’s screening of “Keys To Our Heart” (shot in New Orleans and created for Prospect 1) at Electronic Arts Intermix. If you missed the screening, EAI has it in their database, so you can arrange for an appointment to watch it there. “Keys To Our Heart” is a southern drama / soap opera that Lindzy schemed up. Everyone was laughing so hard during the screening, I practically fell out of my chair.

Public/Private on view at Arlington Arts Center
The only show that really peaked my interest this past month was not in New York, Philly, or DC, but right outside of Washington at a large non-profit arts space called Arlington Arts Center. All the works either bring us into the artist’s private spaces, usually their homes or other personal spaces; or the artist is creating work that interacts with the public space outside. Whats also exciting is that the exhibition brings together a mixture of medias for a very fluid exhibition layout. Video projections, sound art installations, breath-taking C-prints, Internet art, and even the use of scent to subjectively fill a space.

Liam Gillick’s Essay “The Discursive” in e-flux
I love this article and cannot wait for the second part of it to come out. Allow me to copy and paste the first paragraph for you as a teaser. “A discursive model of praxis has developed within the critical art context over the last twenty years. It is the offspring of critical theory and improvised, self-organized structures. It is the basis of art that involves the dissemination of information. It plays with social models and presents speculative constructs both within and beyond traditional gallery spaces. It is indebted to conceptual art’s reframing of relationships, and it requires decentered and revised histories in order to evolve.”

Worst

Drawing Class: Liam Gillick at the Drawing Center
Ah ha, Liam Gillick made it on my list twice in one month. as much as I love the Drawing Center and respect Gillick, I’m glad I didn’t pay anything for this class because I felt as if he came completely un-prepared. But perhaps I was coming in with expectations (maybe he would have us take part in some kind of conceived relational aesthetics performance?) But instead he attempted to teach us how to use the #D image making program called Blender. The thing was, he doesn’t understand the program fully enough to know how to teach it, to the point that audience members who knew more about Blender were yelling out what he should be doing. However I did enjoy the story about how he applied to Goldsmiths with just figure drawing sketches and (supposedly) the only reason they accepted him was because he was drawing a nude man who had no pubic hairs. I wish I had my notebook on me right now so that I could post some of the quotes I recorded. I found another blogger type write this. Check back later and I’ll post up in the comments section…

Panel Discussion: Die Sterung Presents Imaginary Perversions
With your list of panelists being Johanna Burton, Dana Hoey, Paul Pfeiffer, and Kara Walker coming together to talk about Amateur Pornography and Architecture (although architecture wasn’t really talked about at all), you would think it would be pretty entertaining. I’m not saying that I was expecting the discussion to be “sexy,” but I didn’t expect the audience to be struggling to stay awake either! (The latter did happen). It was probably the most lack-luster panel I have ever attended, those at the table spoke softly and seemed a bit shy to be there. Actually, I did begin to enjoy it once they opened up the discussion to the audience. There was only 30ish of us and the room was so casual and messy that the divide between the audience and panel didn’t seem necessary. It felt more like a seminar class. Never have I thought so much about contemporary theory in relation to amateur porn (politics identity, subjectivity, space, etc), so thats good, I guess.

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