Art Voice: Institutional and Social Critique
A curated selection of 100 word reviews from Eutopia for Temporary Art Review.
From the retail storefront at Monique Meloche in Chicago, an installation looks out on the city. Posters masquerade as advertisements, depicting women, not quite on display, and certainly not vacuous supermodels. Unretouched, natural, the empowered feminine, confident, diverse and real, they meet the viewers eye on an equal level, casting gaze for gaze, amid a sea of placards. Turbulent signs and slogans, a sea of voices no longer unheard. The critique has moved off the streets and infiltrated the tools of oppression: marketing, brand identity, mocking the authoritarian voice, turning it as a mirror back on itself. Occupy the critics.
Playing Civilization [link] six hours per day during the Whitney Biennial 2014 Leclery huddles under a bridge, freezing while casually building and destroying worlds. Recontextualizing a long-time hobby Leclery’s isolated, time-intensive act of creation has had virtually no impact on the outside world, metaphorically paralleling many studio practices. Typically a means of studio avoidance playing Civilization presents a non-art-commoditized waste of time: a selfishly pure fulfillment of creative desires devoid of art world pressure. Exiled from the galleries the outsider performance futilely besieges the museum and art productivity, while it’s Whitney inclusion sublimates the former act of escapism into suspicious legitimacy.
Ian F. Thomas
ceramic, acrylic, coal, audio device, hired laborer
Yesterday’s Tomorrow presents an absurdist micro-portrait of Pennsylvania’s socio-environmental dilemma. A paid laborer, for unspecified reasons, rubs coal onto a ceramic hillock for six hours, lulled into numb complacency with generic beer and canary chirping on a digitized loop. The monotonous task completion outweighs need for cognition. This passive apathy infiltrates the gallery as patrons grow bored and increasingly alienated while the mound is gradually destroyed. The work’s clear metaphors spark both environmental/moral disgust and personal empathy, yet more contextually interesting is the painfully prolonged labor of cultural production, which was industriously ignored after an initial viewing.
1973 jaguar, private rare book collection
Developed specifically for the Dallas Museum of Art’s exhibition Boom Town Kennedy’s piece proffers a seductive slap to the entrenched values of the locale. Presenting a foreign, classic automobile as a proxy for misplaced interpretations of class Kennedy drained the car’s fluids, carefully filled the car with his rare book collection, then locked it. The elegant collectibles become inert, unread and undriven, yet infinitely more valuable as such. The unmoving vehicle becomes a mummified tomb for the inaccessible collection, much as the museum grows stagnant beneath the weight of its glorified role as a cultural icon.