The next day my friend Wendi and I toured a few exhibits at art galleries in Chelsea for her "Art of Viewing Art" class at the New School. Each week her homework assignment is to go to specific exhibits at galleries or museums in the City that will be discussed in that week's class. Fun!!! You quickly realize that going to a gallery to view an exhibit is an entirely different beast than going to a museum and the experience itself is one of the topics discussed in the class. The galleries in Chelsea are somewhat inhospitable. Many are behind metal doors that you practically need a special knock to get into. The sense you get is that you have to be in the "know" to even view the exhibit. The exhibits we saw were very avant garde and difficult to place in a context. As Professor Zissner said, these galleries have moved beyond "the mere mortal concerns of 'who wants this in their living room?'" and are advancing "art" for art's sake. I found the exhibits interesting if not aesthetically pleasing but don't think I would enjoy seeing them without the benefit of a tutorial. The art we viewed is difficult to describe, but here are a couple of highlights:
|Kilminck's Avengers Exhibit|
--Gary Hill's exhibit included a 3D video (for which you donned the original 3D glasses) of a gentleman speaking in tongues and analyzing what we learned in class was the molecule for LSD. I didn't understand this exhibit either, but Hill was named a MacArthur Fellow in 1998, so obviously the deficiency is on my end. (MacArthur Fellows awaken one morning to receive an unsolicited call from the MacArthur Foundation telling them that their work is very important and here's $500K to go forth and create.)
--David Wojnarowicz' collection of works contained an image of Christ on a crucifix with ants crawling on him that was pulled from a recent exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. entitled "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture". Admittedly, I am not particularly religious but the image was not offensive to me, just bizarre. In my mind, this does not compare to Robert Mapplethorpe's explicit images that caused so much controversy in the early 1990s and I have to think that it was the theme of the exhibit combined with the specific image that triggered the uproar.
|Devin and Hugue at M Well|