Search the whole artnet database

  Magazine Home  |  News  |  Features  |  Reviews  |  Books  |  People  |  Horoscope  
     
Back to Reviews 96




































































































































































Jack Pierson
Studio for a Month
1996








 

Jack Pierson
Studio for a Month
1996










Jack Pierson
Studio for a Month
1996










Jack Pierson
Studio for a Month
1996 










Jack Pierson
Studio for a Month
1996










Jack Pierson
Being Alive
1996
left section













Being Alive
1996
right section


































Rosemarie Trockel
Untitled, 1996





















Rosemarie Trockel
Untitled, 1996




















Rosemarie Trockel
Untitled, 1996




















Rosemarie Trockel
Untitled, 1996



































Bianca Sforni
Untitled, 1995























































Moyra Davey
Untitled
(Sentimental
Education), 1996









Moyra Davey
Untitled
(No Fee Unless...)
1996









Moyra Davey
Untitled
(Photomagic)
1996









Mark Dion
Tar and Feathers
1996



artist's diary


by Robert Goldman



April 19, 1996--On my way up the opening of Katharina Fritsch's show at Matthew Marks on Madison Avenue [Apr. 20-June 8, 1996], I read on Page Six of the New York Post an item about the demimonde photographer Nan Goldin and some friends getting into a fight over her taking place at the Tribeca topless bar, the Baby Doll Lounge. It said she was hauled down to the police station. This is legendary Goldin. Fritsch is showing 36 silk-screen enlargements on extremely white paper of cartoon-like line drawings that had served as illustrations in a 1936 German children's encyclopedia. They all have shiny, curved silver frames and no glass. Fritsch has grouped them together by categories, making single works out of multiple panels. So, for instance, Superstitions is one work consisting of four identically framed panels with illustrations of "Fortune Telling," "Flagellators" and two more. Other works are Family Celebrations,Popular Celebrations and Church. There are two fairy-tale pieces, each with seven silkscreened panels. A volume of Grimm's Fairy Tales, with different illustrations, is conveniently provided on a table in the second room. So, we have a children's book illustration of the wolf talking to Little Red Riding Hood on the path to Grandmother's house, or a May Day Celebration, or Communion at Church, or Christmas and so on. Fritsch's compendium is undoubtedly a fascinating sociological document with many inferences to be made. But for me, the work is about her act of choosing and her presentation. There is a dynamic theatrical effect in the gallery rooms. The 36 illustrations are put on display. Their scale is enlarged and enhanced through grouping and repetition of format. She used this technique in a show I saw at the Basel Kunsthalle in 1988 curated by Jean Christoph Ammann with Fritsch and Rosemarie Trockel. Fritsch filled a huge hall with a big installation of a very long table at which were seated a considerable number of identical white figures of men dressed in black with black fedoras. Society stamping out identical models.The Organization Man. It is interesting that Katharina Fritsch is showing here within a month of Rosemarie Trockel's drawing show downtown [see below]. They have been compared in the past. In fact, they are probably the two most important German women artists of their generation, and they have very contrasting temperaments. Trockel's show is also about German ritual, but is a very different, funny and quirky vision of it. It is the vision that is lived in all its complicated messiness; one that doesn't fit into perfectly ordered groups. Trockel and Fritsch represent two poles of German art that are analogous to the divide between Polke and Richter. One conjures and invents coincidence, while the other is colder, more calculated, but also very smart. On the fifth floor of the Marks Gallery, Fritsch is showing a retrospective of her multiples, some of which are produced in seemingly unlimited editions and have bargain basement prices for you poor collectors. Some are sold, typically for Fritsch, only in groups. April 6, 1996--I first met Jack Pierson about six years ago while I was hanging out for an afternoon in Donald Baechler's studio. Now you can hang out in Pierson's studio--or at least in his "Studio for a Month," an installation in the front room of Luhring Augustine [Apr. 6-May 4, 1996]. On the first day of the show, the Saturday before Easter, pink and white lilies filled the room with the sweetest fragrance. A frayed, cheap Indian bedspread hangs like a curtain in the entrance. The floor and walls of the studio tableau are painted pale pink. In the room are three odd chairs and an old striped hand-woven textile on the floor. A couple of small wooden boxes hold a portable stereo player, an ashtray and some books: a Polke catalogue; "All of a Sudden" by Jack Pierson published by PowerHouse Books Thea Westreich; the magazine "Out" with Philip Johnson on the cover. Above the table are shelves holding photographic prints and various other things, including a box of Milk Bone dog biscuits. Pinned to the wall is a large photocopy of Jimmy Durante and a copy of a bad review of Pierson's 1995 Chicago show that called his work "retro." On opposite walls, spelled out in mismatching letters from signs, are two wall pieces:Jesus Christ and Jerry Lewis. A plywood table sits in the room holding the flowers, a bowl of oranges, postcards, a rubber eraser, some notebooks, a boxed portfolio of large color prints with a series of off-center close-ups of a young, good looking Italian male fashionably unshaven, a box of pins and a pair of white gloves. When Jack was in the room you felt like his guest. When he wasn't there, you felt like an invited voyeur looking for things that might be interesting. A small spiral notebook I uncovered under a pile had words and phrases from a Hollywood-hotel stay scrawled across each page in a dark soft pencil. A different notebook had pages that said "Cootch," Bad Tit Job," "Burlesque," "Only God Above Knows How I Feel" and "Over the Hill and Looking for Love." Pierson uses language to name things in a way that reminded me of Jean-Michel Basquiat, despite Jean's more deliberate and poetic stroke. "Only God Above Knows How I Feel" is a twist on that. Pierson shies away from casting judgment. He leaves that to God or to us. Rather, he plays on his unassuming coyness to create desire. It's a pose, but he is very good at it. There is a large framed drawing leaning against the wall near the exit of a thin girl with long dark hair, who's wearing across her mouth an elegant black mask for the eyes. A caption scrawled out above her reads, "I'm not who you think I am, and I hate you, too." When I walked into the main gallery, Ada and Alex Katz were there, looking at Pierson's wispy, landscape-like large canvases. They are machine-made, painted with acrylic lacquers by a computer- controlled spray-gun from a scan of one of Pierson's photographs of Bougainvillea, ivy, the soft focus shadow of a chain link fence, or a wall. The colors are understatedly beautiful in their emptiness. The technique and size leaves unnecessary shadows and shapes that are like whitish ghosts. Jeff Koons and Joseph Nechvatal are two artists that have made work using this computerized technique. Bougainvillea is named for the French navigator Louis Antoine de Bougainville (d. 1811). Pierson's canvases are named for Mae West Songs:Franky and Johnny,Sister Honky Tonk,Thats All Brother and Slow Down. They come in small editions. I like them. There is a sign piece that runs across the entrance of the gallery that reads, "Being Alive." A friend of mine thought the whole show was romantic. Mar. 16, 1996--Went to a small reception for a show of drawings and photographs by the German artist, Rosemarie Trockel, at Nolan-Eckman in the 560 Broadway building [to Apr. 27, 1996]. Walk in and you see two photographs, one in color and one in black and white, of an unshaven critic, Wilfried Dickoff, wearing a long thin plastic Pinocchio nose and a towel or shroud over his head. Right away you know something funny is going on here. Ostensibly, the show is images of the Cologne Carnival, but is more than that. There are three drawings of featureless faces except for long Pinocchio-like noses in a dark grayish ink wash. Then there are three drawings of poodles. Then photographs, one in color and one in black and white, of a man wearing pajamas and a white sleeping cap standing in front of an alley. He looks like an escaped mental patient or Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, the reputed Mafia don who runs around the West Village in his bathrobe. Then there are two drawings of faces with spirals for features, six or seven protrusions for noses and one with a sucked-in mouth. They look like they could have been done by Henri Michaux in one of his drug-induced states. Then there were intricate, obsessive drawings of what look like fine chain-mail, mostly in pencil, but partly in color. Another photograph shows a little girl who seems to be protecting herself from all this madness with the hood of her purple parka. A line drawing of a baby's face looks quite normal except for a deep disturbing red spreading down from the top of her head. There are photographs, again one in color and one in black and white, of a young woman with a black eye and a bruised mouth standing beneath a "sheltering" blue and grey sky. Things in this show are and are not what they seem. The mental patient turns out to be someone whose kids Rosie had baby-sat a long time ago and ran into by chance when he was dressed up trying to look funny for the Carnival. He was standing in front of her house, which was the coincidence that initiated this piece. A strange play-acting is going on. The black-eyed woman is not the real thing, as in a Nan Goldin photo, but staged with makeup. When you look closely at an ink drawing of a naked man with a couple of extra feet drawn to the side, you see that a hand rubbing one eye is the hand of a skeleton. My favorite is an ink-wash drawing of a big-eared monkey with a giant tear coming out of one eye. David Sher remarked that the tear looked like it had a sailboat inside of it. Trockel tests our alertness. It turns out, things are and art not what they seem. Contradictions, in this case, illuminate the force of life itself. Donald Baechler, Christopher Wool, Vincent Fremont, Barbara Gladstone and Paul Kasmin were among the attendees at a small private reception. Rosie seemed sanguine and perspicacious. Mar. 6, 1996--Out doing the SoHo rounds when I met by chance Artist Space curator Anastasia Aukeman coming out of the Paul Kasmin gallery on Grand Street, where Bianca Sforni's black-and-white photographs of oysters on the half shell, suffused in saltwater and juices, look sexy and wet. Anastasia wanted to see the Ellen Cantor show at Thomas Nordanstad, but neither us knew where his new space was located. Instead we walk through the freezing, wind- swept rain to around the corner to her favorite neo-Conceptual gallery, Stefan Basilico Fine Arts. Stefan didn't know where Nordanstad was either. He was having a meeting with Mario Diacono, the Italian thinker and gallerist who, in 1961, was signed and authenticated as a work of art by Piero Manzoni. Basilico was showing Mathew Antezzo (covered by Robert Mahoney in "Reviews"). My favorite work of Antezzo's is an oil painting from his previous exhibition, a copy of a photograph of Alan Sonfist's Last Piece (proposed 1973), Artist's Body Placed at Death in a Sealed Transparent Enclosure. "I feel that the decay and growth of my body will present the continuance of my artwork," Sonfist said. Antezzo titled his painting, An Authentic and Historical Discourse on the Phenomenon of Mail Art, Art in America, vol. 61, #18, p. 54. A conceptual precedent for Damien Hirst's decomposing cows in tanks. A couple of doors down Wooster Street at American Fine Arts were Moyra Davey's photographs of collections of books, buttons and magazines. They're presented framed in groups, on shelving, in boxes or, in one case, just stacked up in a bathroom by the toilet. This show provoked a conversation about collections, lost and saved, the problem of storage and the inevitability of life to stuff. The back room had that outrageous sculpture by Mark Dion of a tree with dead animals hanging from its branches, a cat, a rat, birds--the whole thing tarred and feathered. Amidst all the noisy backroom goings on, hardworking Colin de Land told us that Thomas Nordanstad is at Spring and Hudson. We trudged westward through the rain but there was no gallery in sight. Windblown and exasperated, we asked a wise and wizened concierge at 304 Hudson, who directed us to the southwest corner of the intersection, above the deli. Alas, the door was locked with a notice that read "Closed." We never saw the Ellen Cantor show, but I understand it was about sex. In order to salvage something from this wet westward walk we headed toward Gavin Brown's Enterprise on Broome. Taking a circuitous route in order to avoid the onrushing traffic of the Holland Tunnel, we arrived to find a warm, dry room with a black foam-covered bench facing two TVs, one on a refrigerator filled with beer and the other on a wooden box containing, among other things, a bottle of single-malt Scotch. The video playing was by Dinos and Jake Chapman, who apparently had hired porno actresses to have sex with their sculpture, which is a life-sized head with a erect penis for a nose. Pornography or art? I couldn't tell you. Michiko Kakutani in her review of A. M. Homes' novel,The End of Alice, (New York Times, Feb. 23, 1996) cites Nabokov's comment on pornography: "action has to be limited to the copulation of clichés." In this case you decide. For us it was funny and a fitting end to the afternoon.

artnet—The Art World Online. ©2014 Artnet Worldwide Corporation. All rights reserved. artnet® is a registered trademark of Artnet Worldwide Corporation, New York, NY, USA.