HIGH RESOLUTION: ARTIST’S PROJECTS AT THE ARMORY

February 21, 2008 - February 25, 2008
Park Avenue Armory, New York, NY

Including work by Spencer Finch, Lisi Raskin, Pietro Roccasalva, and a program of videos from Electronic Arts Intermix selected by students of the Center for Curatorial Studies.

February 21–25, 2008 
Park Avenue Armory
Park at 67th Street
New York, NY

EXHIBITION HOURS:
Thursday– Saturday: noon to 8 pm
Sunday: noon to 6 pm
Monday: noon to 5:30 pm
Admission Free

TOUR the installations and meet the artists: Sunday, February 24, 1 pm
Reservations: 845.758.7598 or ccs@bard.edu

 

Spencer Finch utilizes a scientific method and a poetic sensibility to explore the relationship between color, light, memory, and perception. The three works that make up this installation specifically evoke the limits of human visual perception.

On the main floor, Finch has installed two sets of drawings: Studio window (infrared) and studio (ultraviolet). The Infrared series was developed by taking temperature readings of his studio window at various times of the day and using these readings to determine the density and patterning of the drawings. Studio (ultraviolet) were attempts in different light conditions throughout the day to paint the limits of Finch’s perception of violet before it appeared to shade into black. Some of these drawings will look black while others will appear violet. This is due to the fact that the light in this room is different from the studio where the works were initially produced and the fact that visual acuity decreases as light levels decrease. At the top of the staircase (the feature that initially attracted him to this particular room) Finch has created an installation using simple filters on normal light fixtures, in an attempt to recreate the light seen by bees. Where we see light from red through violet, the bees see light from green to ultraviolet. He invites us to experience how such a seemingly simple light shift literally changes the way we see the world.

Spencer Finch was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1962. He received a degree in comparative literature from Hamilton College and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1989. Currently the subject of a major retrospective at Mass MOCA, Finch has had solo exhibitions at ArtPace, San Antonio; Portikus, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford. His work has also been presented at the Barbican Centre Art Gallery in London; the Jewish Museum, New York; Museum für Neue Kunst, Karlsruhe, Germany; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others. Finch’s work is in the collections of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York among others. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Curated by Trevor Smith.

 

In Lisi Raskin’s work, a highly personal worldview is often juxtaposed with a factual situation, with palpable political implications. Her “spaces of fear” are somewhat naive reconstructions and depictions of parts of bunkers, nuclear power stations, and missiles, but also more abstract reenactments of particular atmospheres. Rendered in cardboard and crayon, the spaces would not have come about without the real dangers experienced by someone growing up during the Cold War. The artist “fends off” fear with bubble letters and an impressive level of accuracy of detail in her depictions of, for example, control stations.

Made specifically for the Colonol’s Room at the Park Avenue Armory, Command and Control: Mobile Observation Station uses surveillance cameras and the existing architecture, including a hidden chamber, to explore the psychological assumptions and imagined scenarios that a top-secret room ensconced within an official headquarters evokes.

Lisi Raskin lives and works in Brooklyn. She received a B.A. in fine arts from Brandeis University and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. Her work has been exhibited internationally at various institutions, including the Frankfurter Kunstverein in Germany; the Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius, Lithuania; and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in New York. Raskin has contributed to the P.S.1 Newspaper, North Drive Press and HTV Magazine, and she has published reviews in Frieze and C Magazine. She was the 2005 recipient of the Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship from the American Academy in Berlin. In 2007 she was an artist-in-residence at Iaspis in Stockholm, Sweden, and is currently artist in residence at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

Curated by Maria Lind.

 

Pietro Roccasalva always builds his installations based on some element of a previous work. In this case, the public is welcomed by D’après La Tempesta [After the Tempest], a work composed of a sculpture and a painting. Hung in the corridor among many nineteenth century figurative paintings, Roccasalva’s monochrome is derived from one of the most notable and mysterious paintings of the Renaissance, La Tempesta [The Tempest] (1507-08) by Giorgione. Obtained by mixing all the colors found in Giorgione’s painting, Roccasalva has treated the colors as if the tempest had literally mixed up all the pigments and reduced the work to a state of entropy and definitive stillness.The sculpture is installed inside the Mary Divver room, opposite the painting. A minimalist monument, it is composed of a paper stack surmounted with an arancino [fried rice ball]. On the one hand, the white paper with its surrounding black line is inspired by Ellsworth Kelly’s extremely reduced painting White Square as well as Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ paper stacks. On the other, it is also derived from the form in which obituaries are posted on the facades of Italian city squares. In the artist’s iconography, the arancino, a typical southern Italian snack, becomes an image of a dead sun, fallen from the sky.

Three persons surround the sculpture, like three angels around an altar, acting either as guardians of the sculpture or as witness to the sacrifice of the fallen sun. This tableau vivant is composed of the exhibition’s curator, his twin brother and their father. In this way the curator voluntarily decides to be subjected or ruled by the artist, becoming a subject of his work, rather than directing operations from the outside. Dressed like soccer referees, the trinity is also, for Roccasalva, a depiction of Zurvan, the Persian god of infinite time, space, and fate, father of twin brothers, who are the personification of good and evil.Finally, all the elements are held together by a text in violet neon that can only be read by looking at it in the mirror. It reproduces a famous phrase by Jacques Lacan and overlooks the installation as a whole.

TABLEAU VIVANT SCHEDULE
2/21 Thur 12:30-2:00PM, 6:00–8:00PM
2/22 Fri 12:30–2:00PM, 6:00-8:00PM
2/23 Sat Noon–2:00PM
2/24 Sun Noon–2:00PM

Born in Modica Italy in 1970, Pietro Roccasalva currently lives and works in Milan. Recently his work has been shown as part of Senso Unico, a group exhibition of contemporary Italian Art at MOMA/PS1. Roccasalva has exhibited extensively in Europe at institutions including Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice; art: concept, Paris; Prague Biennial; Galerie Johnen + Schöttle, Cologne and Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Bergamo. In 2005 Roccasalva was the recipient of the Premio Furla per l’Arte, one of Italy’s most prestigious prizes for contemporary art. In 2008 Pietro Roccasalva will participate in Art Statements, Art 39 Basel and Manifesta 7.

Curated by Vincenzo de Bellis. Special thanks to Zero…Milan.

 

Program 1: SCARY MOVIE 5 (2/20, 2/25)
Scary Movie 5 presents a program of five videos that reference horror film tropes. Alfred Hitchcock believed that a goal of the horror film was to “give them pleasure – the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.” And, indeed, a common theme throughout the theorization of cinematic horror is the notion that there exists a connection between the fear and the pleasure experienced by a filmgoer when viewing an expression of the deep-seated fears within his or her own culture. The works included in Scary Movie 5 reflect this fear/pleasure duality.

Peggy Ahwesh, The Scary Movie, 1993
8:16 min, b&w, sound, 16 mm film
Peggy Ahwesh’s The Scary Movie approaches the genre from a feminist point of view. Cliché horror film music and sound effects frame a loose narrative of two young girls who dress up in monster movie costumes and tread horrifyingly close to gender role experimentation in a culture that has no room for it.

Cecelia Condit, Possibly in Michigan, 1983
11:40 min, color, sound
Cecelia Condit’s Possibly in Michigan tells a dark tale of the supernatural arriving in Middle America, beginning with a man stalking a woman in a suburban mall. The story takes a macabre and surrealistic turn as the heroine takes matters into her own hands, resulting in a cannibalistic revenge.

Forcefield, Forcefield Assassins, 2001-02
20:12 min, color, sound
The Providence, Rhode Island based art collective, Forcefield, tap into a primordial horror in their two-part video, Forcefield Assassins. Figures carrying torches through dark tunnels fight a nightmarish machine just before a mind-bending animation derails the narrative; paranoia settles in as three masked figures stand perfectly still before a fire as the image arbitrarily flashes in and out of a strobing effect.

Takeshi Murata, Monster Movie, 2005
3:55 min, color, sound
The Yeti-esque monster of Takeshi Murata’s Monster Movie lunges toward the viewer as Murata digitally pushes it back, melting the monster frame by frame into a halucinatory spatial warp. Murata’s technical acumen combines with the driving, percussion-heavy soundtrack by Plate Tectonics to create a visual and aural feast.

Michael Smith, Secret Horror, 1980
13:38 min, color, sound
Mike Smith stars as his everyman character, Mike, in Secret Horror, a hackneyed nightmare where he is haunted by ghosts invading his apartment and disrupting his life. A saccharine-tinged parody, the work swings between camp music video and banal nightmare as Mike negotiates strange occurrences.

Curators: Summer Guthery and Gene McHugh.

 

Program 2: RULES OF THE GAME (2/21)
Rules of the Game brings together five early works from EAI that rely to varying degrees upon a score-based approach. The artists included in the program abandon the rigid flow of a traditional script in favor of instructions and improvisational performances from participants. Deceptively simple at first glance, gesture repeatedly acts as a catalyst for both critique and experimentation within prescribed boundaries. While Lynda Benglis and Carolee Schneemann reveal their authorial hand—intoning explicit and disruptive instructions—Joan Jonas and Dennis Oppenheim pursue more ambiguous and enigmatic strategies to capture their drawings in space. Each, however, elevates the immediate physicality of play as a form of release and renewal.

Lynda Benglis, Now, 1973
12 min, color, sound, video
Lynda Benglis conflates direction and technological experimentation in her early video work Now (1973). Using playback monitors, Benglis interacts with a pre-recorded tape of herself in a series of gestures that mime an awkward seduction. Yet the pseudo-sexual element’s counterpoint is Benglis’ spoken directives: “Now – is it now? Do you wish to direct me? Let’s run that through.” Benglis’ disjunctive approach challenges the relationship between the objectified subject and objectifying director as she assumes both roles, subverting notions of mastery and narrative expectation.

Joan Jonas, Songdelay, 1973
18:35 min, b&w, sound, 16 mm film
Joan Jonas elicits artist friends’ participation in her film Songdelay of 1973. Shot in the urban wasteland of downtown New York, Jonas directs the participants in a variety of choreographed actions that add up to a masterpiece of early performance film and video. Jonas utilizes simple props such as sticks, wood blocks, and chalk in her choreographed “score”. The gestures executed are playful yet exact—clapping wood blocks overhead in unison, for example—as the element of sound delay relates specifically to the medium and the emptied out environs of a decayed city. Indeed, the overall composition pushes the vocabulary of film and urban landscape into new territory even as it is merely an excuse to play.

Dennis Oppenheim, A Feedback Situation, 1971
3:02 min, color, silent, super 8 mm film 
Dennis Oppenheim relied on his children’s participation in many of his early conceptual video works, imbuing them with a poignant intimacy. A Feedback Situation is an example of Oppenheim’s “transfer drawings,” where a transfer occurs between two participants executing a blind contour drawing. Father and son draw on each other’s back simultaneously in a mirroring of intent that also enacts an ageless tutorial.

Dennis Oppenheim, Objectified Counterforces, 1971
2:06 min, color, silent, super 8 mm film
Objectified Counterforces records a drawing of the upright body’s movement upon the earth. Here, Oppenheim’s children participate in a sack race filmed from a bird’s-eye view that animates the artist’s outline.

Carolee Schneemann, Meat Joy, 1964
6 min, color, sound, 16 mm film
Untrained performers writhe on the ground in furry bikinis while raw meat and paint fall into their midst as orgiastic excess is drawn from carefully directed actions. The framing and movement underscores the horizontal orientation of the performance, suggesting a comparison to abstract painting, while the soundtrack, a collage of American soul music, mingles with Schneemann¹s subdued score in English and French.

Curators: Fionn Meade and Wendy Vogel.

 

Program 3: SOUNDTRACKS (2/22, 2/24)
This program spanning five decades looks at artists who have taken culture as material and recycled it to their own ends. Using whatever technologies are at hand, they’ve created new cultural terrains that subvert and reframe convention, often pushing the form of the moving image as medium. They exemplify video’s connection to, and frequent detournement of, pop culture. Music becomes both a device and subject, soundtrack and comment. A common currency, it is retooled, sampled and juxtaposed to comic, dramatic and critical effect.

Dara Birnbaum, PM Magazine/Acid Rock, 1982
4:09 min, color, sound 
PM Magazine Acid Rock combines a re-composed version of The Door’s “LA Woman” with digitally manipulated and repeated images of icons of Americana and consumer culture, appropriated from television.

Tony Cokes, 3#, 2001
4:38 min, color, sound 
An entirely different approach for layering visual material over music as a possibility for producing critique— Seth Price’s remake of an early Kraftwerk song is fused with simple, stark, graphics in orange and black that combine text titles, addressing pop music’s role in society, with appropriated Morrissey lyrics.

Paper Rad, P-Unit Mix Tape, 2005
21:08 min, color, sound 
Paper Rad uses neo-primitive computer graphics, but take up an intense multiplicity of visual sources that includes both material appropriated from television programs and advertising, video games, and the Internet as well as independently generated animation. Sliding from hip hop to electronica, the near-psychedelic barrage re-produces and remixes the material that new, media-saturated generations have grown up with.

Pipilotti Rist, You Called Me Jacky, 1990
4:06 min, color, sound 
Piipilotti Rist lip-synchs Kevin Coyne’s song “Edna and Jacky” in You Called Me Jacky. Rist’s figure is laid over shots of passing scenery viewed from a train window. She performs pop clichés, playing up the icon status of singers like Madonna. An enigmatic and emotive piece, it brings the role of the music video, both within and outside of mainstream commercial production into question.

Carolee Schneemann, Viet Flakes, 1965
7 min, toned b&w, 16 mm film
Originally shot on 8mm film, Schneemann layers a sound collage of Vietnamese sacred chants and American pop songs that capture one aspect of the 60’s Zeitgeist, over footage of suppressed newpaper images depicting the American war in Vietnam.

Curators: Christina Linden, Bartholomew Ryan, and Jess Wilcox.

Program 4: THE FIGHT AGAINST… (2/23)
The Fight Against… points to different strategies taken by artists in response to propaganda. The five works represent different reactions to conflicts, expressing a range of conceptual, documentary, and experimental politics.

Max Almy, Perfect Leader, 1983
4:11 min, color, sound
Max Almy constructs a pop-culture caricature of the evil politician using the strategies of television commercials and music video in Perfect Leader.

Chris Marker, Prime Time in the Camps, 1993
28 min, color, sound
Chris Marker deals with media censorship of political actions, critiquing media control in times of war.

Muntadas and Marshall Reese, Political Advertisement VI: 1952-2004, 2004
75 min, b&w and color, sound
The last 50 years of American presidential campaign advertisements are reviewed in Muntadas and Marshall Reese’s Political Advertisement VI: 1952-2004 which traces the development of increasingly sophisticated strategies for marketing the candidates.

Carolee Schneemann, Snows, 1967
17 min, b & w, silent, 16 mm film
Carolee Schneemann’s highly symbolic, choreographed performance, Snows, evokes her sorrow and outrage over the Vietnam War.

Woody Vasulka, Art of Memory, 1987
36 min, color, sound 
In Art of Memory, Woody Vasulka superimposes newsreel footage of war over the landscape of the American Southwest in his investigation of collective memory and trauma.

Curators: Mireille Bourgeois, Anais Lellouche, Zeynep Oz, and Marion Ritter.

ABOUT ELECTRONIC ARTS INTERMIX:
Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI) is one of the world’s leading nonprofit resources for video art and interactive media. Founded in 1971, EAI’s core program is the international distribution of a major collection of new and historical media works by artists. EAI’s activities include a preservation program, viewing access, educational services, online resources, and public programs such as exhibitions and lectures. The Online Catalogue provides a comprehensive resource on the 175 artists and 3,000 works in the EAI collection, including extensive research materials. www.eai.org

HIGH RESOLUTION: ARTIST’S PROJECTS AT THE ARMORY is presented by the Park Avenue Armory in association with the Art Dealers Assocation of America (ADAA). CCS Bard would like to thank ADAA for their generous support of this exhibition.  Special thanks to Zero…Milan, for their support of Pietro Roccasalva’s Z

 


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