Friday, August 14, 2009

notes from the good intentions road paving company

Essays and exhibition reviews are at odds with one another. I have been wrestling for weeks with a four or five part meditation on history, shifting models of ethnic identity, and continuities in hybrid cultures; but while I struggle with a topic that somehow will sweep in Thomas Hart Benton, Russell Lee and the FSA photographers, Frederic, Lord Leighton, the Millennium Arch, and Larry Walker's "Dissolving Stereotypes/Forging New Dialogues: An Exhibition Beyond Race," the local shows in Atlanta are moving inexorably towards their scheduled closing dates. As with Michi Meko at Beep Beep, I may find the implicit issues so unwieldy that the online review will never appear. But I am having another go at it. First drafts of at least two of the four (or five) parts already exist, though they are too drafty to exist even in the provisional world of the blog.

In the meantime, the opening tonight of Maria Artemis' exhibition at MOCA GA should serve to draw fresh attention to "Dissolving Stereotypes" in the museum's adjacent gallery.

5 comments:

eggtooth said...

"the implicit issues"

implicit: capable of being understood from something else though unexpressed.

doesnt that defeat the purpose? sorry for having expectations.

meko/artemis.
two examples of a reflection of atlanta's expectations of itself.

and nobody says anything,they just continue to wonder why atlanta goes without significant art generating notice.
after the fact.
every time.
for years on end.

michi,who i do actually ultimately believe will do something (maybe?)- seems trapped inside an idea of a system of creating and showing art-one you would think he would perhaps be fundamentally at odds with. but he's too comfortable and afraid-to actually say what he wants to say. What his work says remains implicit because the primary concern is in core-taught aesthetic/sales oriented desires.
he might as well hang feces on the wall.the same statement would be served in same bitter ironic hope for the sale. i dont exaggerate in this comparison.
the pretty cuteness actually borders on sanctimonious given the supposed heavy thematic nature of his work.i would like to see him become angry and call it like he sees it- with no need for pretty cuteness.and not being (inadvertantly?) reminiscent of african american commercial successes before him. i really would like to see more system- awareness generating work from in general.quit trying to use it,and calling it meaningful. same goes for pecou. if you got something to say...say it.as it stands now -it is ...shit.

maria artemis:

pretty stuff. but -especially in relation to the public art-it is so safe and representative of an idea of "public art" that it is practically a joke.it is so expected and "perfect" that it sadly does what i suppose those spending the money on the idea of the idea get what they want. it blends in by exactly meeting generic categorical expectations.it is the kind of thing a film director would request to be in the background of a 10 second shot that requires "Oh i dont know..you know...just..you know...art "
is easy to see why big corporations wld commission them and then commercial galleries would want to sell smaller versions of pretty things with her name on them. maybe Pier One will request permission to manufacture knock-offs. or maybe thats where she gets her ideas in the first place.

so-like michi..there's a bitter cycle of cynical irony at work here.it tries to give "the people"-(the rich tasteless stuffy crackers and tee vee superficial style victims?)- what they want and the only artistic gratification in the whole process is the fascinating perceived idea of success it renders.which,by the way, only goes so far..so who do you think yr fooling? we see ourselves.
theres no soil to plant your fake seeds in because this type of crap leeched the ground of nutrients long ago. im not saying these visual product manufacturers should stop what they're doing-im saying critics and arts writers should ignore it as being art-unless they're going call it out,and in doing so establish an act of investing in the building of a real art community...

littlejoke said...

You have far too optimistic an idea of what constitutes salable art. I wish Michi's stuff was marketable, but it isn't. (This goes for a lot of other stuff you seem to think will sell.) Maria has much more intelligence than you ignorantly deny her credit for. If you think the stuff is too pretty and hides its theoretical underpinnings too thoroughly, then say that. Maria has gone in for a mix of massively theoretical interests and seductively impossible beauty from the beginning: see the public sculpture at Agnes Scott or the startlingly balanced hanging boulder at the newer part of the CDC. As for Michi, yeah, the problem I had was that he was too influenced by Radcliffe Bailey and Jean-Michel Basquiat and alluding too directly to the Basquiat-Warhol collaboration in working out his own ideas. Which are his own, as far as I can tell, since folks do have parallel biographies because of coming from the same general social order.

eggtooth said...

a respectable touche'. i deserve a bit of a spanking for that batch of words i slopped up there, i suppose. i refer to you pulling out the word "ignorantly".my general manner deserved it, i allow that this time.

on my optimism regarding sales, i too wish michi's work would sell.
I'm trying to describe a recipe that will ultimately help everyone sell. (but dont tell anyone i said that)
I could return a variation on the word ignorant in reference to feeling a need to explain a difference in feeling work has primarily sales oriented intentions and if in fact i feel it will actually sale.
as it stand now, i react based on a feeling.it's the origin and that precedes the desire to further inform myself. (yes, i know- informing informs feelings- arguably 1st...etc)
in going to michi's show, i found myself being verbally informed about his intentions. the more i listened,the more i found myself technically capable of producing words.not inspired,just informed. ultimately tho, i had to go with how i felt by what i was looking at.so i wrote nothing. seeing any mention at this point requires a reaction tho.(unless its that relish video which laughably does the job for me-good grief.)
i get a general feeling off michi's work (usually) that says hes gonna go somewhere-the man has things hes trying to say and an eye and chops,but..so far,it seems to still have an origin that feels a need to play ball by a certain described set of rules. and those rules make saying certain things impossible. theres no rationalizing it. i can see a warholian awareness of context and sales being used to try and expand the concept of where his work's statement ends-but that'd be a cop-out. and it aint workin anyways.

on maria..i look at the work itself.reminiscent of much on a feeling basis.simple as that. I'm sure she's intelligent. the work is obviously made by a brilliant person. but beyond that,im not terribly inspired and in fact a bit frustrated.
look away. rub yr eyes. take a deep breath. look again. they're nice.neat to look at. but so what?


uuugh. im feeling a weird nagging thing here.tell you what...
im going to research her more.i owe her that. i dont know why i say that,but i owe it to myself too, i guess. just because i do in fact respect you,jerry.
having an open mind doesnt mean i have to change it does it? and in a worst case scenario, it's a matter of knowing yr enemy(and enemy isnt a strong word for it,not really)....maybe my enemy is myself. but i doubt it.

stay tuned for more.

littlejoke said...

What I meant by "implicit issues" would be the things that Michi almost certainly doesn't even realize consciously...like how much his own authentic perceptions are shaped by social expectations and the time he lives in...he seems to think that the only way to engage in a conversation with his time is to look like a bunch of other African-American artists, but since I didn't hear him talk about it I felt I had no business speculating. (I never remember to bring earphones with me so I can listen to videos while online at work or in coffeehouses.) Most artists have less of an idea of what they are doing that what they are actually doing (otherwise they would be writers instead of artists).

What I think about Maria's show must remain private because I am supposed to write a catalogue essay about it. If I didn't know her work at Agnes Scott or her sculpture in the chapel at the airport...I hope other people will in fact decide whether this show is a success or a failure, which I think is the more important issue...do our best artists from back in the day eventually start turning out work that reflects a lifetime of producing in a contextless art scene where both the enthusiastic congratulations and the condemnations are based in general ignorance of anything that has happened since about 1975?

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