Charles Gaines, SMH and MoMA

Obsessive, artistic madman (I mean that in the most revered art-sense of the term) Gaines has a show stopper in the current MoMA show,  “Sites of Reason: Recent Acquisitions”: a multimedia installation including sound, video with text, and visually appealing, large-scale, hand-drawn sheet-music with lyrics.  Gaines devised a system to create  four related “scores” that equated and translated words of four political manifestos into corresponding musical notes (a la Sol Lewitt and an acknowledged influence, Hanne Darvoben, as well as Dadaist sound-meister John Cage).    At the Studio Museum in Harlem, “Gridwork” traces the genesis of Gaines’s self-perpetuating stylistic modus operandi  in dizzying, puzzle-like compositions from the mid-1970s-mid-1980s that recall the “counting” art of Roman Opalka as much as the Zen-focused detail of Buddhist mandalas, another acknowledged influence.  The few with color also anticipate the pixilated “bit” mosaics of the pending (at the time) digital age.

Sugar Hill Show

Sugar city this summer, with Kara Walker’s mountainous mama at Domino;* including two pieces in the Sugar Hill (nabe) show, “If You Build It,” a group exhibition at a new apt. (main architect, David Adjaye) at 155th / St. Nich. Ave., organized by www.nolongerempty.org.   (One is illustrated below; the other is a diorama-like, mini-metropolis of the sweet stuff by Irish duo, Brendan Jamison and Mark Revel, all over the web).

I picked up a signed multiple ($10!) by the esteemed Nari Ward – a “canned smile” — created in conjunction with a street project / “happening” documented in a video on view in the show – love it!

nari_wardLots of very interesting work.  Loved the timely, poignant “monument” to immigrant journeys by Scherezade  Garcia (below).

Through 8/10/14.

Detail of installation dealing w/ baseball and the Dominican Republic (cast glass bat over sugar).
Freddy Rodriguez,  Detail of installation dealing w/ baseball and the Dominican Republic (cast glass bat over sugar).
Radcliffe Bailey
One of Radcliffe Bailey’s “shipwrecks” from the Diaspora-focused Atlanta-based artist.
Scherezade Garcia
Scherezade Garcia (painted rubber tubes; airport/travel stickers)

*Kara Walker, A Subtlety, installed May 10 – July 6, 2014; organized by Creative Time.

 

Jeff Koons / Yayoi Kusama?

Re: Jeff Koons at the Whitney Museum:  Has anyone mentioned Yayoi Kusama’s Narcissus Garden of mirrored balls on a lawn at the 1966 Venice Bienale (to which she had not been invited)?*  For $2 each, she hawked them–“on sale: your narcissism”–until chased out by officials.  (The piece has since been revisited and installed in various contexts by the amazing octogenarian, Kusama.)   Narcissism is the great common denominator, as Koons’s not at all uninteresting bloated Brancusis remind us–and just as he predicts–Koons_1 (2)over and over.

[Left: Snapping myself at the  Whitney.]

*Images of the original Kusama in situ are copyrighted, though still in wide circulation on the web (google).

Snapshot reactions/recommendations on contemporary and occasionally other art recently on view around town. See you in the galleries, Jody B. Cutler-Bittner (art historian/educator). Search artists, galleries, museums, key words below, and "enter".