Posts archive: August 2005

from Matthew Collings, who undertook to record his likeness with cameras taping for his new television show.

- Jeannine McDonald [Monday, August 29th, 2005]

Every once in a while, a show will remind me why I started down the path of art in the first place. Tim Hawkinson at LACMA is one of those shows.

This is Hawkinson’s first comprehensive solo show in nine years, and represents a body of work spanning a period of two decades. With remarkable range in scale, material, and concept, Hawkinson fills the LACMA galleries with a pulsating, kinetic, universe of sculpture, painting, photography and mechanical contraption. Some favorite pieces include a tiny, perfect, jewel-like sculpture of a bird skeleton made entirely from crazy glue and the artist’s fingernail clippings; a row of gears that starts fast-spinning and dime-size, growing to an enormous end gear which revolves once every hundred years; an old-fashioned school desk with a mechanical arm that signs the artist’s name over and over onto a moving spool of paper, which is then automatically cut forming a huge pile of signatures.

Then there’s “Secret Sync”, a tableau of common household objects - hairbrush, briefcase, measuring tape, etc. - which have been subtly transformed into clocks, each secretly revealing time with one another.

I walked from piece to piece with a growing sense of wonder at Hawkinson’s world of seemingly infinite, magical, possibility.

- David Lawrence [Monday, August 29th, 2005]

Artist Michael Rosenthal purchased a diverse group of “un-attributed and affordable” art on (paying no more than $5 for each painting), then invited 29 artists from the greater Bay Area and the East Coast to “fix” his collection. The results are on view at Works San Jose through September 17. My pick is Calvin Turnwall’s reworking of a black velvet farm scene, You Can Lead a Horse to Water But Can’t Make Him Think.

- Meredith Tromble [Thursday, August 25th, 2005]

London’s new Outside Institute offers a “safe-house”
to street artists—2000 square feet of police-free walls to graffiti.

- Jeannine McDonald [Thursday, August 25th, 2005]

Soundwalk2005 comes to downtown Long Beach this weekend. Soundwalk, a production of the artist group FLOOD, presents sound sculptures, environments, installations, and performances by more than sixty artists from three continents, including Steve Roden, Sabine Pinkepank, Suzie Leonard, and hop-frog.

- Meredith Tromble [Wednesday, August 17th, 2005]

A couple weeks ago Acting Interim Director Alex Burke resigned without telling anyone why. Now Board President Alan Millar, initiator of the recent controversial management reorganization, has resigned. Reportedly Allegra Fortunati is the new President of the now much-diminished Board.

To recap: originally jolted by the unexpected and sudden termination of Executive Director Elisabeth Beaird, The Lab has subsequently been rocked by the (in most cases equally unexpected & sudden) resignations of Burke and nearly half its Board, the inability to settle terms of compensation with Beaird, unsettled relationships with funders and continuing protests by long-term supporting members & artists.

Will Fortunati be able to quickly & professionally resolve outstanding issues? Will she be able to win back the trust of funders, supporters & artists? Will she be able to attract new board members? Will she be able to keep The Lab afloat?

- [Tuesday, August 16th, 2005]

Ambitious exhibitions are appearing at the Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica since Jerry Barrish became the curator. The current exhibition features recent work by veteran painters William Theophilus Brown and Paul Wonner through September 10.

Brown and Wonner are now in their eighties and first gained recognition in the 1950s. Art historians associate them with the Bay Area Figurative style, although both painters have had long, hard-working careers going far beyond that period. Wonner, who has been making Dutch-influenced still lifes for many years, shows watercolors more consistent with his early Bay Area Figurative style—very fluid, spontaneous in feeling. Many of them are studio interiors showing Wonner (portrayed as more collapsing and decrepit than he really is) drawing a model who glows with youth. There is a tender play of emotion between the person who is in physical, although not artistic, decline and the buoyant strapping young lads in the center of the room.

Brown’s small oil or gouache paintings also feature males, often a single figure. He, too, circles back to an earlier style, in his case after working with highly textured abstractions. He’s made very bold pictures, some highly colored and beautifully modeled. It feels to me as if both artists come close to their early work but bring to these small, rich paintings the confidence and drawing ability that one naturally develops with time.

—Jessica Dunne

- Meredith Tromble [Sunday, August 14th, 2005]

“For Tomorrow” really does seem like it will be “The Very Very Last Lucky Tackle Show Ever, Honest,” so the one, only & last night exhibition and opening promises to be crowded, celebratory & bittersweet. Eric Bodine, Jason Jones, Michelle Lopez, Mads Lynnerup, Anna Maltz, Lisa Mraz, Joshua Pieper, Kiersten Puusemp, Mariah Robertson, Miljohn Ruperto, Amy Todd & Brian Wasson will exhibit & perform, and Keith Boadwee will DJ. It will be hard to top LT’s sublime previous show, “Tim Sullivan’s Amazing Luminous Fountains,” but I’m betting this will.

Since it was his space, let’s give Adam Rompel the last word: “Just over three years ago, I started a project that would offer post-school kids a professional space where they could show their work. The idea was to give these artists a leg up before they felt the need to make product in order to participate in the art world. It was to be a place where form would follow concept and work would be shown because it was good - not because it would sell.  Happily, Lucky Tackle has since built a solid reputation as a project space for showing super smart art. Having achieved more that I could have imagined for the gallery, I feel that it is a good time to end the project.” The good news is that Adam will focus attention on the website and develop its archival possibilities.

I can’t imagine being anywhere else between 6:30-10:00pm on Saturday,  August 20, 2005. Lucky Tackle is at 6608 San Pablo Avenue - take the 80/580’s Ashby exit, turn right at San Pablo.

- [Saturday, August 13th, 2005]

on joining the so-called “Freedom Center,” which was pressuring them to promise no “anti-American” art.

- Meredith Tromble [Friday, August 12th, 2005]

Full disclosure:  Brides of Frankenstein curator Marcia Tanner is a Stretcher friend and supporter. And aren’t we proud! Brides, which opened today at the San Jose Museum of Art, is in the running for “best of 2005.” Galleries full of experimental work by a new generation of female artists working with new media, and - miracle of miracles - a bagful of approaches to interactivity that work. I don’t think it’s just because things hadn’t had time to break yet. The show’s installation successfully got viewers of all kinds into it and playing around - I saw a nine-year-old girl manipulating Camille Utterbach’s tilt-sensored video on balance beam and a family group running Tamara Stone’s gauntlet of dolls. Don’t miss it - through October 30, 2005.

- Meredith Tromble [Saturday, August 6th, 2005]

And his new show at Rena Bransten rang the bells for me as usual. Looking down into the circle-on-ellipse-with-sloping-walls shapes of Lez is Mo, I had a sudden gravity-shift hit as if from one of Richard Serra’s Torqued Ellipses. Very weird, considering that “Lez” would almost fit in the palm of a hand, but true. Finesse and compression go a long way…

- Meredith Tromble [Friday, August 5th, 2005]

The 411 on the 51st Bienniale de Venezia held this summer is that it signaled something other than the 911 for art, setting it apart from other extravaganzi of a similar stripe. As has been the case for well over a decade, the national pavilions (now numbering over seventy) were relegated to sideshow status in relation to the large curated exhibitions ensconced under the big-tops of the Arsenele and the spacious Italian pavilion that now no longer shows the work of Italian artists. Yes, that’s right, I said two curated exhibitions, and this une-due punch proved to be the innovative master-stroke of presentation that brought the whole biennial enterprise into a provocative focus: no proliferation of tutti-mixta “diversity” here, just two examples of solid curation that didn’t overreach themselves while doing an exceedingly good job of playing off of each other’s seemingly opposed premises.

The spacious Italian pavilion contained an exhibition curated by Spanish curator Maria de Coral, The Experience of Art. This was a stately and stylish grouping of the work of well-known artists who could be thought of as institutional favorites. At the heart of this sprawling group exhibition was a set of large photographs by Thomas Ruff, all landscape images that had been pixellated, and then pixellated again

Curator Rosa Martinez with Guerrilla Girl.
Photo copyright Haupt and Binder

to once again drive home the point that big photographs have become the new painting—apparently, no one has informed Ruff that we have come to a pass where big drawings on paper have become the new big photographs claiming to be the new painting. Paintings by Antonio Tapies, Francis Bacon and Phillip Guston were also on view, the latter two installed in such a way to suggest that a contest was being staged between them.

The Arsanale played host to an exhibition curated by Rosa Martinez (also from Spain) titled Always a Little Further, which cast itself as a post-avant-gardist walk on the wild sides of mock perversity and social criticism. Here, a clutch of new brightly colored posters by the Guerrilla Girls reminded everybody that fairness has again eluded the organization of the Bienniale, while fat boy performance artist Leigh Bowrey was videotaped wearing the garb of Mexican wrestlers. At the other end of the seemingly endless building, Rem Koolhaus gave us more posters, these being smart interrogations of what the idea of a museum could be taken to represent in the not-too-distant-Future(ism?).

- Mark Van Proyen [Tuesday, August 2nd, 2005]

From the editors