Archive for the ‘art – others’ Category
Above is a painting by Sally Ross, who shows in New York City, as recently as a 2010 Gallery Lelong group show, which featured the top image (found on a blog via Google images). I met the artist briefly in the 1990s and have seen and admired her work here in the NY metro area. She specializes in carefully-painted surrealistic still lifes, often where the subject is cartoonishly thickened, such as the above flowers. Her stroke and sensibility is similar to that of her brother in real life, Alexander Ross, painter of intricate green biomorphic blobscapes.
Christie's sold the smaller image above and apparently misidentifies New York's Sally Ross as a different Sally Ross, from Melbourne, Australia, who has won the Google Images battle decisively. It wouldn't be an understatement to say that the Melbourne Ross annihilates the New York Ross on Google, to such a degree that Christie's uses the tag "Australia" to identify the New York Sally Ross's painting. Yet the provenance for the Christie's image was Feature Gallery, NYC, and there are no New York shows on the Melbourne Sally Ross's resume. Also, 1969, the birthdate Christie's gives the New York Ross, is on the Melbourne Ross's resume. 'twould be an amazing coincidence if both artists had the same birth year.
Apropos of this post on recommendation engine-uity, it's what happens when you let Silicon Valley's bots make cultural determinations -- the better artist can be eclipsed even in the tastemakers' auction spaces.
Am pretty well out of painting crit these days (life moves on except in this stodgy realm) but people keep posting links to NYC's equivalent of the medieval stonecutter's guild and its bible of sacred words. One of these is "breakthrough" and John Yau abuses hell out of it in this Hyperallergic review (or Hyperallergenic, as Salon once mistyped it).
Stephen Westfall has been making and exhibiting crisp, polished geometric-style paintings for three decades now. He bounces back and forth between iconic centralized images that could almost be corporate logos and more "allover" patterns where the eye is kept moving around a field. His most recent show contained both types, as likely will his next one, and the one after that. So it's spurious and ahistorical for Yau to take one of the "field" ones in a single show and pronounce it a breakthrough, with full late Greenberg orotundity.
If Westfall had a creative breakthrough it was when he went from whatever he was doing to the styles of paintings he's doing now, which was probably the mid-'80s.
Another kind of breakthrough would be if he left this groove and started doing something performative, or with computers. Or smartphone art.
Give it a rest, John Yau. Please don't ever write that "breakthrough" review again.
Rhizome's Michael Connor reviewed the above jpeg, which refers to an acrylic-on-canvas work by Austin Lee at New York's Postmasters Gallery, and tagged the post "Internet-Aware Painting."* He noted the history of "blurry image" art including Richter and Ruff (although those are two very different concepts) and compared the style to MSPaint but we're not getting at the real issues here, which are "why paint if the jpeg is adequate?" or "what is the gallery adding to this process?" So this annotation was appended (which they needed like a hole in the head):
On an initial skim of this post I thought, "Magda Sawon is showing MSPaint?" and then realized you were making an analogy and that this is just another acrylic painting that pops online. We will have to wait for our New York galleries to develop a connoisseurship of widely available paint programs.
But seriously, let's talk about this jpeg some more (haven't seen the original). One actually probably could do this in MSPaint -- there's some of that granulation in the "spray" -- if you then treated the image with the popular "Gaussian blur" effect in Photoshop. The subject matter of the pop-eyed, no-forehead idiot who looks to have been painted by a feral child recalls a very early George Condo, in a good way.
Sadly, we're not at the point where an artist could just make an image like this and post the jpeg. You have to go through the tedious business of painting it on canvas and finding a gallery willing to promote it, which includes photographing it, converting the photo to jpeg, and sending it out with a press kit.
All of which is to say, thanks, Michael, for discussing this work in the context of "internet aware art," meaning art made with an idea to how it will look online as opposed to the humdrum concept of "art based on the internet." The ambiguity is resolved in this case with your tag Internet-Aware Painting. That's kind of a subtle, stealth critique and a validation of your need not to own the underlying artwork -- you have a perfectly good jpeg.
See also: New Dumb Little Painting Timeline
Update: Am told that Austin Lee's paintings are large in scale -- good, great. (Other new dumb little painters also worked large -- it's smallness in spirit we're talking about here. Scale is certainly one of those reasons to get off the internet and go see work -- just please don't say "MSPaint" when the gallery doesn't show MSPaint or "garish netart colors" as a way to sexy up a well-established art form.
*Just to be clear, the post is titled something else -- "internet-aware painting" is only a tag at the bottom. It's that molehill we're scaling here, with full climbing gear.
crashtxt, the twitter account, appears to be mostly the net art legend, jimpunk, but I haven't determined yet how much it's him, how much it's interactive, and what the relationship is between it and his other twitter account, llllll__lllllll
Short review: creative, fairly relentless use of unicode icons as a kind of latter-day ASCII art, veering between chaotic expressionism and tight renderings of cool skulls. On the hacking vs defaults continuum it comes closer to "Being and critiquing The People by using the tools made by The Man" than "Empowering The People by subverting The Man's power." Mostly it's jimpunk being jimpunk, but we're supposed to say it's all about the mix and avoid any suggestion that his art might be, gasp, gag, hermetic.
An article in the gaming journal Kill Screen didn't help much at all: the author started out with the fusty dichotomy of art-in-museums-you-aren't-supposed-to-touch vs wacky contemporary art where YOU are also the artist. She also uses the late '90s term net.art throughout. And apparently never doped out why jimpunk wasn't replying to her emails in complete English sentences similar to her own.
Unlike ASCII, which can be made on a typewriter, unicode depends on how well your operating system, browser, and or appliance can read it, so you may see a lot of posts like this one:
crashtxt also features screenshots of unicode arrangements, as well as screenshots of glitched versions of this and that. The twitpic at the top of this post is a screenshot saved directly from the site -- no idea how it's done or what the back story is, but it's an exquisite, or perhaps exq=.s.te image (despite being fuzzed out).
Addendum: As long as we're name-checking ASCII, let's also mention as precedent, the venerable, annoying "wingdings" or "webdings." On the crashtxt readability issue, here's a screenshot from Jules Laplace, who evidently can't see the unicode at all.
A review I wrote for Art Papers when I lived in Texas, never submitted, then reworked for my blog in 2007. When I blogged I thought I didn't have a photo but belatedly realized it was in their 1995 catalog from the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, The Art Guys Think Twice. So here is the review again, with the photo I never had from the Dallas Museum, where I viewed the installation in '91 (the inset photo is as it appears in the book, to show what's otherwise difficult to see on the video monitors).
Jets, by The Art Guys
Dallas Museum of Art, November-December 1991
The main concourse of the Dallas Museum of Art ascends in a series of broad, gently sloping ramps, creating spaces reminiscent of airport architecture. Appropriately, that's where the Art Guys placed their installation Jets during the 1991 Dallas Video Festival.
Sixteen TV monitors fanned across the ceiling over the ramps, linked by black cables to a neat bank of VCRs on the wall. Each monitor faced down with its back securely bolted to the ceiling--or so we hoped. The screens glowed pale blue, green, or violet, the ambient colors of footage taped from the sky at different times and places, and intermittently roared to life as an airplane passed across the screen.
The artists phased the tapes so at a given time some screens showed empty sky and others tracked commercial aircraft landing or taking off in wobbly, hand held fields of view. The random distribution of the zooming images along the corridor kept the viewer off guard: as you followed the progress of one jet, another would loom unexpectedly behind you.
The network of cables crawling across the ceiling and down the wall to a controlling ganglion could emblematize the global transportation and communication systems on which we are so dependent, while the fragility of the systems could be felt in the nervous-making Damoclean placement of the monitors. That's one level of interpretation.
Yet sitting beneath them for a few minutes revealed something a hurried passerby might have missed: their curious kinship to natural phenomena. The random lightening and darkening of screens and the antiphonal whining of the jets became paradoxically calming, like stars blinking or insects chittering in the breeze. Thus do our daily threats become reassuring background texture.
Have written about the Art Guys (Michael Galbreth and Jack Massing) a number of times (recently here).
carjackcker posted a GIF of Storm, from the X-Men, looking strangely bulbous and flying around in a circle in the sky. The frame below grabbed my eye, for the way its extreme foreshortening turned the character into an almost-abstract blob. Originally I had her centered against a blank sky background but then decided to overlay her over something. Fishing around my hard drive I found a frame from a topologically distorted version of my blog logo (blogo?) that someone (apologies for the dropped attribution) made a while back. Many of the colors were the same, and the distortions of the figure and background seemed to resonate. The jagged pixel edges, a byproduct of transparentizing the original background, "expose the seams" for an added touch of self-referential authenticity. [/gratuitous exegesis]
From the Wikipedians.
The real name of this photo is "Steinbichler Shearography Honeycomb with CFRP Top Layer Artificial failures that simulate layer- core delaminations Material Top view.jpg"
Social Photography III: An Exhibition of Cell Phone Photographs benefits the Tribeca non-profit gallery carriage trade. The press release explains:
Emphasizing no particular theme beyond how the cell phone camera is most often used, both artists and non-artists were invited to submit images from their phones and email them to carriage trade.The images will be produced as 5" x 7" prints, installed in a grid in the gallery exhibition, and offered for sale to help support upcoming programming at carriage trade.
Images are viewable on flickr. It's amusing that after flickr's recent white-space-eliminating redesign, users such as carriage trade are adding white mattes to the photos in order to separate them visually on the page and give them breathing room. See example above, a photo by B. Wurtz, downloaded from flickr as a 800 x 570 pixel jpeg, more than half of which is white space. We're assuming the prints on view and for sale don't include this surplus acreage. But that's a minor issue. I like what the gallery says about cell phone photos:
As cell phone cameras become more ubiquitous, their function continues to evolve. Encompassing the varied roles of snapshots, visual notes, discrete picture taking, or the immediacy of citizen journalism, the cell phone camera lacks the intentionality of a point-and-shoot, resulting in a more direct recording of the “everyday.” Because of the proximity of cell phone images to the spoken word and text-based communication, the pictures are often a kind of visual shorthand to fill the gaps in between.
In this third installment of Social Photography, the increasing sophistication of cell phone camera technology has led to an interest in it as a medium in its own right, raising questions about whether it will become indistinguishable from a camera or maintain some level of informality and idiosyncrasy by virtue of its hybrid nature and function as a tool for communication.
The question of whether the phone is "indistinguishable from a camera" gets at the more vexing question of how, and at what level, to evaluate its output. Photography had an uphill battle for acceptance as a museum-collectible art, and now the ease and ubiquity of phone-imaging challenges the preciousness of photography. carriage trade kicks cell phonery up a notch by "reifying" it, that is, making it physical, handsome, and collectible. So in a sense the exhibition isn't so much raising a question as answering it. The next step toward museum validation is critical discourse, of which this blog post constitutes a tiny part. A further question is whether a star system can ever emerge in such a diffuse field. Who will give us the Mike Kelley stairwell sign for this practice, if it is a practice?
Addendum: Continuity-wise, see earlier post on carriage trade's 2011 benefit. The issue then was removal of a page of exhibition photos by Facebook. Back then Zuck wasn't the well-known unhip evil he is now widely understood to be, among teens and other discriminating internet users.
Addendum 2: I saw the show as installed in the gallery. The white space is indeed part of each print but it works as a kind of matte to isolate the image. So it's not Flickr-specific (was being sort of cheeky-rude with that implication). According to the gallery, the format has been in place for the last three years' benefits. Amusingly, when it started, many printed-out cell phone photos didn't occupy much more than 3 x 4 inches, and the paper prints are 5 x 7. Now with the advent of megapixel-everything, the gallery is having actually to shrink many of the photos to keep the format consistent.
hat tips FAUXreal, footbath, unknown mod
Thanks again frankhats - from a page of "Legacy Macintosh Art."
I made these when I was 10 - 15 on a 512K Mac and then a Mac Plus, using MacPaint or Superpaint, and a mouse (and a great deal of magnification).
The shading is enviable.