Tuesday, April 01, 2008

NYC : March 29th

I left before dawn Saturday morning to get up to Manhattan for art fair weekend.
I was very excited to see the feature exhibition at MoMA, "Design and the Elastic Mind", and was not in the least bit disappointed. It was kind of all-over the place, but was ostensibly about how design mediates between the end-user and all of these disparate scales that we operate in during our day-to-day interactions. It was a grab bag of code art, DNA sculpture, computational origami, 3d printing, information visualization, robots for life support, sensory deprivation enhanced telepresence, visionary architecture, fungible computing, sex toys and body modification. There was a tendency among roughly half of the objects to be presented as part of a science fictional scenario. All of the objects were imaginative and held tremendous visual interest; but with the non-functional artifacts from the future, I got the sense that I was looking at fresh kind of science fictional art.
Link to the exhibition's website. (Flash required.)
Below are some of my pictures of a smart board that drew on the silhouettes of the visitors. (2004, Philip Worthington, Shadow Monsters)
A comparison between the other two places I went, the Whitney Biennial and the Armory Art Fair, is telling. I haven't been to either before, so I really didn't know what to expect.
I may not have been put-off by the pieces that comprised the Whitney Biennial if I was presented with them individually. Together though, the pieces seemed joyless and cynical; many of the pieces were art povera reborn as art school affectation. What was presented as beautiful, seemed pandering and trite. There were three John Baldessari works, though, that were genuinely beautiful and witty; so I guess I was rewarded for going there. Maybe my negativity towards the show can be chalked up to being a curmudgeon.
Waiting in line for the Armory Show, I expected to be disgusted with the huckster-ism and art-by-the-yard attitude inside. After I was inside, I found that I was not; granted that I didn't actually have to actually interact with anyone. The work was of a much greater variety than the Biennial, and I engaged with the work much more.
Below is a drawing I liked very much. The artist was extrapolating from the edges of snapshots; which is a great idea for starting drawings that I will try. (2002, Amelie von Wolfen, Skylobby 2)
Next time I do this, I'll skip the museums and go to the other art fairs.
Links (1 & 2) to the Fallon+Rosof Artblog coverage of the art fairs.
Link to coverage on Artnet.
Link to a chatty video bit on the NYT website.


Bob said...

that sounds fun. The "Design and the Elastic Mind" web page is so nice.

Bob said...


Pete said...

It was a lot of fun, yes!