Queer: February 2007 Archives

Jim Hodges what's left 1992 white brass chain with clothing, dimensions variable [large detail of installation]

The Art Show of the Art Dealers's of America Association [ADAA] hosted a press reception early this afternoon in the Park Avenue Armory. I hadn't personally expected it to be the most exciting of the eight or more shows being held in Manhattan this week, if only because its concentration was definitely not on emerging art, but as it turned out, I was pretty impressed with the quality of the (mostly twentieth-century American) work displayed. Although it was all available for purchase by enthusiasts with deep pockets, for us lesser mortals it was like a good trip to a good museum, or perhaps 70 museums. I didn't even mind that because it's a collection of separate (and disparate) individual shops there isn't a hint of the kind of organization which would be expected in a museum or even a regular gallery show. This "armory show" has more than a little bit of the charm of a very good flea market, and I mean that in a good way.

Most of the exhibitors looked like they were just showing off their stuff rather than their curatorial restraint, but a few should be congratuated for presenting a concept rather than a catalog, and some should be praised for refusing to hold back on more edgy work just because of the spiffy profile of the event.

CRG Gallery gets laurels for its intelligence and courage on both scores. The Chelsea gallery showed only one artist, Jim Hodges, and a very limited number of his works, and each of them related to a form of vigorous, transgressive sexuality which is still able to frighten the horses.

Of the other booths, some of my favorites, in a quick run-through and in no particular order, were those of Knoedler & Company (New York), Rhona Hoffman Gallery (Chicago), Peter Freeman (New York), Matthew Marks (New York), Adler & Conkright Fine Art (New York), Brooke Alexander (New York), Barbara Krakow (Boston), and Andrea Rosen Gallery (New York).

Kehinde Wiley Keyon II (study) 2002 oil wash on paper 30" x 23" paper size [installation view] {Rhona Hoffman}

Gerhard Richter Nase [Nose] 1962 oil on canvas 30.75" x 23.5" {Peter Freeman}

Ellsworth Kelly Orange Curve I 1982 64" x 150" [installation view] {Matthew Marks}

Jenny Holzer FROM THE LIVING SERIES: IT TAKES AWHILE 1981-1982 enamel on metal 21" x 23" [installation view] {Barbara Krakow}

Joseph Raphael The Town Crier and his Family 1905 78" x 66" {Montgomery Gallery (San Francisco)}


See Bloggy for more.

Filip Noterdaeme THE NEWEST™ 2006 model (plexiglass, LED screens, figurines, remote-controlled robotic system) [installation view]*

The Homeless Museum (affectionately referred to as HoMu by both adoring fans and its own creators) will be welcoming visitors once again this Sunday. I don't think anyone could describe this incredible institution as well as the creators themselves do on the museum's website, and I'm certainly not going to try:

A product of New York City's cultural decline, the Homeless Museum (HoMu) is a budget-and-staff-free, unaccredited arts organization that enables and engages cultural dialogue practiced at the intersection of the arts and homelessness.
Originally established mostly as a concept, two years ago the museum found a home in the fifth-floor walkup the founder shares with his partner Daniel Isengart. Once a month they open their doors to guests by invitation. Visitors are encouraged to email ([email protected]) or call (718-522-5683).

The NYTimes has found out about it and last month Dan Shaw wrote an excellent account of its mission and its work. The Believer has an extended article by Samantha Topol in the December/January issue.

I highly recommend a visit to the museum. Barry and I were there several weeks ago and we were charmed by the wit and sincerity of our hosts and delighted with the museum experience. We had first encountered what I'll call the creative humanism of Filip Noterdaeme's projects two years ago when we read about his campaign to shame the Museum of Modern Art (called MoMa by both supporters and critics, with little warmth from either) for its introduction of a compulsory $20 admission charge. Noterdaeme encouraged and inspired visitors to pay the entire amount in pennies, making it necessary for the museum to place buckets beside the station of each ticket clerk.

The admission at HoMu itself is determined on the basis weight (1¢/lb.), cash only. The Times article describes its membership policy:

The museum raises money for the homeless with a twist on the usual cultural memberships. ''We encourage visitors to become members,'' Mr. Isengart said. ''We tell them they can choose from any levels, from $5 to $125, and that they must give the money to a homeless person of their choice directly. We do it this way so that 100 percent of their donation goes to the homeless.''

Filip Noterdaeme Spoon, 1/8 Iroquios drawing

"Spoon, 1/8 Iroquios" is in the museum's collection. It is part of a series which represents a kind of empathetic curating concern absent from any museum of my experience. From the HoMu website:

The One-on-One Collection is a deeply felt and authentic engagement with the grim and stultifying lives of countless homeless adults who yearn for love, but instead must settle for broken dreams, abuse, and danger.

What began as a fascination with the sex lives of homeless men and how they fulfill their sexual desires has inspired this collection of body prints that are reminiscent in style of Yves Klein's Anthropometries. Paintings on paper made by the imprint of naked bodies previously drenched in "Homeless Orange" provide a range of erotic connotations, addressing taboos such as homelessness, public sex, and homosexuality. For example, in "Spoon, 1/8 Iroquois", two silhouettes suggest a hurried sexual encounter between two men.

What's the tie-in between HoMu's championing of the homeless and its critique of the museum? I think it lies in a profound awareness of the contrast between the outlandish sums of money and attention devoted to the increasingly-elaborate (and increasingly-inaccessible) temples in which we house the high-end items branded as our official cultural idols, and an incredibly wealthy society's neglect or spurning of its own most-forsaken things and people, including its own material detritus but above all the homeless, the outsider, and the uncompromised artist. Noterdaeme and Isengart bring it all home with their phenomenal mix of minimalist panache and compassion.

The open house is Sunday from 1 to 6, on Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights.

Filip Noterdaeme ISM (The Incredible Shrinking Museum) 2004-2006 model (glycerin soap) [installation view]*

descriptions of the two works shown in model form above, adapted from material furnished by the artist:

"The Newest™" presents itself as a new contemporary art museum. Viewed from the front, it appears to be a building that is inundated by visitors whose silhouettes can be seen moving about behind its see-through façade, outfitted with several slogan-flashing LED screens. But a look behind the scene reveals the effect to be a choreographed deception: The Newest™ is not a building but an oversized stage-set simulating a building front. The visitors turn out to be dummies circulating on conveyor belts and rotating platforms. The machinery is controlled from a computer operated by a single person, the museum director.

"ISM (The Incredible Shrinking Museum)" is a project for an interactive museum consisting of a sixteen-foot cube of glycerin soap. The cube is subject to constant change through exposure to the elements. In addition, visitors will be invited to exploit the structure like a mine until is it is used up, the goal being to reach out to a new audience and challenge visitors to think about their role as active participants in the shaping and destruction of culture through direct participation in the realization and, ultimately, the deconstruction of a museum.

[image of "Spoon" from HoMu]

This page is an archive of entries in the Queer category from February 2007.

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