Artpace New Works 09.1 PART 1

Last week I went to the opening for Artpace’s first New Works series of the year (09.1
for those of you who love numerals), curated by Trevor Smith from the
Peabody Essex Museum. Not that it’s a competition or anything, but the
premise of their series – one International artist, one national artist
and one Texan artist – makes it almost impossible not to compare and
contrast the relative merits of each artist’s production over the
course of their residency in San Antonio. I’ll start with my LEAST favorite: Christian Tomaszewski.
 
Christian Tomaszewski, DID NOT EXPRESS IT IN KISSING OR HUGGING OR EVEN TOUCHING (detail), neon, paint, 2009

My previous enthusiasm
for Brooklyn reisdent Christian Tomaszewski’s work (cf GT’s
Spring Preview) was quickly tempered when I found out that he had not
created another Blue Velvet installation and pretty much evaporated
when I actually saw the work he did make. Carving out a large room into
three separate areas using cardboard walls to create "three linear
corridors," Tomaszewski – I am told by the exhibition notes – "thematically
address[ed] the influence of architecture, the psychology of fantasy,
and the development of narrative." The first room contained a
text piece in neon that read "DID NOT EXPRESS IT IN KISSING OR HUGGING
OR EVEN TOUCHING." The side-corridor to the right contained a
two-screen video projection of mostly solid colors, some snippets of
dialogue presented as subtitles and some ambient noise. The
side-corridor to the left had a few prints of op-art patterns, some
other seemingly unrelated images, a hoop hanging from the ceiling and a
row of colored floodlights that joined to create white-ish light.
 
Tomaszewski installation shot

 
The
main impression was that Tomaszewski has been reading some "rigorous"
shit. It seemed pretty insistent on density and obtuseness, as if those
two things somehow equate to merit or aesthetic appeal. Furthermore, I
wasn’t really able to figure out how these different parts all came
together to "address" architectural concerns, the psychology of fantasy or the
development of narrative, unless by that he meant it happens in rooms,
you’ll have to make most of it up in your head and there’s really no
story here. To sum it up in four words: it was very boring.

also by Ivan Lozano

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5 responses to “Artpace New Works 09.1 PART 1”

  1. Ivan
    Good insights in the last 2 articles you wrote.
    Come to Corpus Christi and write on on Eye Infection at K Space Contemporary

    There is a spiel on the message board with links to several of the artist’s websites
    and some pictures of Corpus Christi to lure you.

    We have no one with your skill at figuring this stuff out

    Again good work

  2. I think the video stuff he had in the other room was partly about color perception – he showed pure primary and secondary colors side-by-side wih some black-and-white footage; this may be related to the lighting in the room pictured here. This aspect of this show was the only partly interesting thing about it for me, but I agree it seemed obtuse and also half-assed.
    Also, the yellow bit in the fifth framed piece pictured here is an essay by Nietzsche….

  3. I throw anything I receive from PACE directly into the garbage. I never open it. But then I throw a lot of stuff away.

  4. Some would say I’m a snob. Not so. Some things just aren’t worth the trouble.

  5. I would have to say that ArtPace’s program has declined since the Grand Dame of hot sauce’s demise. San Antonio is notoriously boring. Dolphins do not live full, and meaningful life in captivity. In fact, they die at around 8 years of age when their life expectancy in the wild is 35 years .

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