wetmorel

Posts by wetmorel:

See you at MOCA Cleveland this Friday!

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

 

Dark Stars_for Blog

 

If you happen to be in the Cleveland area this weekend, you have to check out MOCA Cleveland!

Since its reopening last year, with a sharply elegant new building designed by Farshid Moussavi Architecture, the museum of contemporary art has hit the ground running. Artist commissions such as David Altmejd’s sprawling vitrine installation The Orbit, and Kate Gilmore’s new sculptural installation and video Love ‘em, Leave ‘em are particular highlights of MOCA’s “investment in producing new projects with artists, new artwork and new culture,” to quote chief curator David Norr.

Another refreshing aspect of the museum’s programs are the thoughtful group shows through which the curatorial team have been able to explore current tendencies and preoccupations of contemporary art practice. Assistant curator Rose Bouthillier’s current exhibition Dark Stars  is a tightly composed and deeply intelligent instance of this. Bouthillier details the focus of the exhibition in her curatorial statement: “Dark Stars considers time as a subject in contemporary art, exploring how objects and images bring the past into the present. The exhibition’s title refers to the phenomenon of a dead star’s light continuing to travel through space, appearing to remote viewers long after it has gone dark. Works by Carol Bove, Michael Byron, Annie MacDonell, R.H. Quaytman, and Cerith Wyn Evans convey a similar sense of duration and delay.”

A highlight of the exhibition is Canadian artist Annie MacDonell’s The Shape of Time, Revisited (2012) in which she restores the wooden hand of an antique fortune telling mannequin while meditating on George Kubler’s 1962 text The Shape of Time: Remarks on the History of Things. “However fragmentary its condition,” intones MacDonell in the video aspect of her project, “any work of art is actually a portion of arrested happening, or an emanation of past time. It is a graph of activity now stilled, but a graph made visible like an astronomical body, by a light that originated with activity…” Dark Stars is an example of the way in which an inspired curatorial theme can invigorate a single work, elucidate its connection to other seemingly disparate practices, and create spaces for dialogue with a broader discourse. Bouthillier has a marvelous way of making it seem as simple as that.

This weekend marks the opening of another exciting group exhibition, Realization is Better than Anticipation, co-curated by Bouthillier and Megan Lykins Reich, director of programs and associate curator. Regionally focused, with emerging and established artists in and around Cleveland, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, this exhibition promises to be an exuberant consideration of art-making, or as Bouthillier and Lykins Reich put it: “‘realization’ is taken as equal parts practical (doing, constructing) and alchemical (magical, transformative).”

The opening party (featuring cocktails, live music, and performances) is this Friday June 28th, 7–10 p.m. See you there!

 

Apartment Event Update! Chris Beauregard, Brandon Boan, and Mark Dion & Co.

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
_MG_3670
Chris Beauregard, 2013 (Photo: Travis Snyder)
front entrance
Brandon Boan, 2013 (Photo: Jason Cohn)

Apartment Talk #11: Chris Beauregard and Brandon Boan

Recently the 2013 Carnegie International apartment hosted an evening of experimentation by Chris Beauregard and Brandon Boan. Both artists are know in Pittsburgh primarily as sculptors; Boan for his contribution to the 2011 Pittsburgh Biennial of curious casts exploring interstitial spaces and detritus found in the basement of the Carnegie Museum of Art, and Beauregard for his 2012 solo show at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, which presented carefully rendered yet violently toned objects intertwining themes of Italian Futurism, Gialo, and Cult Cinema. Recently Beauregard and Boan have been attending to the intersections between object making and performance, and their new work for this event presented two different approaches to sculptural gestures of accumulation.

Entering the apartment visitors were met by Boan, dapper in a three-piece suit and wielding an enormous old CU-5 Polaroid camera, originally used for forensic and fingerprint photography. Boan politely asked that each person through the door present their teeth for documentation, and the resulting polaroids were beamed on to the 44th street-facing windows using an opaque projector. Any American with dental insurance (or without, as is more often the case) can attest to the fact that showing one’s teeth is not the same as smiling. This became ever more apparent over the course of the evening as the accumulating grins came to resemble a manically held group rictus and Boan’s collection revealed itself to be a sinister study of social nicety; mobile vulgus.

In the kitchen, Chris Beauregard worked over a small high-powered stove, cooking up batches of sugar, corn syrup, and red food dye; a mixture that, when heated to extreme temperatures becomes glass candy, and also happens to be the same recipe commonly used to make fake blood in films (a fact that he has employed in past work, such as Bloody Axis, 2012). In a gesture recalling Richard Serra’s early lead toss works, once the blood/candy had reached a temperature of 320 degrees Fahrenheit, Beauregard used a large steel ladle to hurl it into a bucket of ice cold water, where it instantly hardened. The resulting forms were gingerly removed from the bucket and placed on a light table to be admired and sampled by visitors. These organically vulgar, delicately filigreed compositions of freeze-framed blood splatter captured  the explosive moment in a film when the squib (a small explosive pouched used to simulate gunshot wounds) is deployed.

Apartment Event #12: Mark Dion and Columbia University MFAs

Another recent apartment event brought together MFA students from both Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University and New York’s Columbia University for an evening of pizza, beer, and artist presentations. The Columbians had come to town on a field trip with their mentor Mark Dion—an alumnus of the 99/00 Carnegie International and a resident of southeastern Pennsylvania, where he and his family make their home at Mildred’s Lane, a “contemporary art complex(ity)” in the upper Delaware River Valley. The next morning, after a few church sales and a hearty breakfast at the Quiet Storm, we took a tour of the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History. Dion was eager to show his mentees the unique institutional model that houses such distinct elements as a collection of gems and minerals under the same roof as a gallery of Renaissance painting. What a gem!

Team Baumann

Friday, January 18th, 2013

Team Baumann_Salut

Ellsworth Kelly and two friends model the new 2013 Carnegie International uniforms.

“Everything except salt air and a beach.”

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Did you know that the world’s first Ferris Wheel was invented and built by a Pittsburgher in 1893?

Walking by Caliban Books the other day I spotted this little gem in the window: PittburGraphics: Graphic Studies in Paragraphs and Pictures Pertaining to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by Samuel R. Ohler. Published in 1983, this book is packed with fascinating (if a bit outdated) tid-bits of information about our Steel City, including a history of Pittsburgh’s inclines, tunnels, and bridges, as well as its Greatest Tragedies, Worst Floods, and the mysterious “Underground River.” Also covered are exciting topics such as “Fighting Ships Named USS Pittsburgh” and “Living Downtown” in the city Ohler describes as having “everything but salt air and a beach.” This book is so full of PGH-pride that the cover features a typeface called “Pittsburgh Black,” first manufactured in PGH in the early 1900s.

See the gallery below to peek between the covers. There is even a little lesson in Pittsburguese!

Heppenstall is found!

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

heppenstall sign 2

On June 7th Daniel Baumann posted on the mysterious disappearance of the Heppenstall sign near the Lawrenceville apartment. I am pleased to report that this weekend, on a trip to Carrie Furnace with visiting artist Zoe Strauss (more on Zoe’s visit soon!), Dan Byers and I happened upon the dismantled remains of ol’ Heppie. Nestled in the dusty corner of an old Steel Work’s engine house seems the perfect resting place for this venerable marker of industry. Certainly, much better than the Wall Street bar Daniel had predicted.

heppenstall sign 3