Top Five 2014 Exhibitions (Experiences) from Associate Publisher: Andrew Katz
Everyone's doing it, right? Over the next few weeks, some of the NAP/Blog contributors will share their favorite shows of 2015. First up, Associate Publisher, Andrew Katz...Enjoy!
I was able to travel a bit this year, so fortunately I could expand my art viewing to a few other cities. I categorized my selections to make things a little more interesting. Don't worry, Boston, you are still well represented! So many shows to consider, and almost impossible to narrow things down, so this year I focused on exhibitions that gave me a memorable overall experience.
If you saw any of these shows, I know you were equally as impressed. And if you didn't, I encourage you to look into the artists a little more. You'll like what you see. - Andrew Katz, Associate Publisher
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's "Pulse" at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. Photo Courtesy Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
Favorite Exhibitions Seen on Vacation (Both in Montreal)
Jake and Dinos Chapman / Come and See
Photo By Andrew Katz
Jake and Dinos Chapman took over both DHC/ART Foundation buildings. It's hard to describe the show put on by the British Brothers in their first North American Show. In fact, I now regret mentioning it altogether because it's downright impossible to go into detail in less than a paragraph. Look, their work is crazy, ridiculous, childish, yet extremely well executed and can make the most experienced art enthusiast at least a little uncomfortable. Included in the exhibition were a collection of large enclosed diaramas (I'm guessing 4x6 feet in square footage) of hand-made skeleton Nazi armies, along with Ronald MacDonald figurines, battling it out in a muddy and apocolyptic landscape. Got your attention yet? Oh, I should mention there were several life-size KKK members in their white robes and headgear, wearing hippy rainbow socks and sandals, peering into the glass cases. Fascinating. And that was just one room of the huge exhibition, that varied in medium. Please do some research on these guys...Regardless of what it all meant (Sorry, I don't go there), It was quite an experience and it stayed with me for a while.
Come and See Installation, Photo by: Andrew Katz
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer / Pulse Room
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal
Photo By Andrew Katz
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's exhibition at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal was breathtaking. When you first walk into the large and open exhibition space, you might just think it starts and ends with a grid of 300 perfectly clear lightbulbs hanging from the ceiling, dimly lighting the room. They appear to have minds of their own, individually twinkling and showing off their filaments. Eventually though, you stumble along a single bulb dangling a little lower than the others along the edge of the room, and a handlebar contraption mounted on the ground. Grab on to the handles long enough and the entire room goes dark, followed by a slow progression of bulbs illuminating from one side of the room to the other. Eventually they all begin to blink and pulse to the tune of your heartbeat. Oh, there's sound too. It's one thing to experience this interactive piece for yourself, but I got chills, repeatedly, when watching others make the same discovery for the first time. After spending some time on Lozano-Hemmer's site, I'm sorry this is the only thing I've witnessed of hers in person.
Boston Museum Show
Hans Op de Beeck / Staging Silence 2
MIT List Visual Arts Center
A video still from Hans Op de Beeck, Staging Silence 2
I was totally taken off guard by this film. Eerily silent scenes (more dioramas!) that seem permenant in nature, confused by the fact that hands come in from all directions to stage the setting before your eyes. It's clever, well executed, and quite dreamy. The film transitions from a snow-covered forest, to a modernist apartment, to a futuristic cityscape within moments. These "locations" are just a few of the many scenes created with everyday materials, insanely good lighting, and changes of perspective. It's all so real, but all so fake, a recurring theme in Op de Beeck's work. Please take the time to watch the full video here: https://vimeo.com/109134897 No, I'm begging you to.
Boston(ish) Gallery Exhibition
Franklin Evans / juddrules
Montserrat College of Art
Photo By: Robert Moeller, for Art New England
Franklin Evans put on another epic installation, this time in Beverly, MA. For this installation every square inch of the gallery had the artist's touch. Tape, xeroxes, studies, books, paint (wet and dry), were all present, and represent common objects you might find in a busy artist studio. I felt like I was not only witnessing the creative process, but also becoming a part of it. For this artist, the process is seeminly chaotic, and at the very least obsessive, as it should be (in my humble opinion). I enjoyed creeping through the space, making discoveries at every glance. The exhibition was overwhelming in a good way, and I wanted to see it again and again.
Show I Wish I had Seen
David Scanavino / Imperial Texture
Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum
Fortunately, there's still time! I really hope to see this one, and it's open through April, 2015, so there's a good chance I will. As a former classmate of Scanavino's I've been a fan of his work for some time. Lately he's been working with paper pulp and linoleum floor tiles to create large installation pieces. I haven't seen it in person, so I'll leave it to the Aldrich to describe the exhibition:
"...Scanavino debuts a site-specific floor sculpture and a monumental wall relief, turning the South Gallery into both an experiential installation and engaging platform for interactivity. Imperial Texture (2014) spans the floor and scales four walls, making it feel as though the viewer has walked into a gigantic immersive abstract painting or virtual video game. Using multicolored 1 x 1 foot linoleum tiles, Scanavino conceives what at first emerges as a dizzying arrangement that generates a tantalizing optical sensation. As the floor tilts upwards onto the walls, it challenges the viewer’s dimensional perception, offering an intensified sensorial experience about body, site, and spatial conformation…To intensify the viewing experience, Scanavino also introduces, Peacock, an animated wall relief crafted with a colorful construction-paper pulp-and-glue blend that has been applied by hand directly onto one of the gallery’s walls. Formed over three eight-hour days, the pulp was pre-mixed in the studio using a household blender and arrived in color-coded buckets.”
How could you not want to see this in person?