Daily Archives: May 13, 2013

Marissa Lee Benedict at Threewalls

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Benedict is interested in processes. My question is: How am I, as a viewer, being made to understand the processes she is interested in? If I give a plain reading of what I see it would go something like this. “There is a bucket with green dirty water and lamps around it. In the middle of the room, t

here is a branch with a plastic bag filled with water attached to it. There are two SAIC drinking bottles with dirty water and an SAIC book with a magnifying glass mounted above it. However, by the way it is displayed I don’t feel invited to look through them. Probably she wants to show she studied at SAIC”

If she want to show her interest in processes, why doesn’t she build a laboratory? Go for it girl, all the way!

Benedict was much more successful with her piece in the lobby of the Sharp building of SAIC. She had build a structure in which she grew plants, all the way with lamps and dirt. Seeing this work as part of a larger setting where people work and study and pass by on the street, we are invited to witness the process of growing, nature, life. I enjoyed passing by her installation and the life and the green she brought into my life so much. It became part of my daily routine. We see the plants grow. How amazing it is, for us city people!

In respect to her show at Threewalls, the question arises: how does an artist translate a work to a gallery setting where the work is experienced as a one time event only? How do you engage the viewer in your basic interest in processes when the viewer spends only a brief moment with the work? Is the gallery the right place for her work?

LeWitt And Sandback at Rhona Hoffman

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Concrete Block Structure by Sol LeWitt

My first question seeing this concrete block is where did he build it? The next: how heavy must it be? And I end with: if he didn’t build it here, how did he get it here? It must be really heavy. I am aware that these questions aren’t relevant for any art historian or regular viewer. Maybe I am just not interested in some philosophical thoughts that inevitably lie behind this work, but more in my own struggles and amazement with building things. Whenever my father proudly helped me with hanging something on my wall or fixing something in my house, he’d say “It’s time you learn this yourself.” And I would hold my hand next to his and say “look dad, look at your hand, then look at mine. What difference do you see?” I am much better in making maquettes when it comes down to building things, so I have respect for people who build large things.

I had the urge to climb on it and sit on it for a while. Maybe waiving at the people passing by the window. But I thought it to be rather inappropriate. I know who Sol Lewitt is. And some institution or rich bitch wouldn’t like their work to be insulted by some art student, let alone, Rhona would freak out.

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Fred Sandback: Sculptures

Apparently the thread by Sandback is supposed to be the outline of something. Also, apparently, he had stretched strings for a long time. I am amazed how your artistic practice can get so narrow. If it is true that stretching thread is all he did, how did he keep it exciting for himself?

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There were also two drawings framed on the wall. They were cute. My first thought was well, they have to sell something… It was also my last thought in relation to the work.

Sorry, it is not really a review. I have honestly nothing interesting to say about the work. I am more amazed by the question of artistic boredom. Sorry again, I go with what I see and experience, not by art historical context. But in that respect, this is what it says on Rhona’s website:

“Exhibited concurrently with Sol LeWitt: Concrete Block Structure is the solo exhibition Fred Sandback: Sculptures. In 1986 Sandback, in looking back over twenty years of a consistent art practice, wrote “The first sculpture I made with a piece of string and a little wire was the outline of a rectangular solid . . . lying on the floor. It was a casual act, but it seemed to open up a lot of possibilities for me.” This exhibition marks the 6th solo exhibition for the artist at Rhona Hoffman Gallery and the gallery is featuring sculptures that span the period from 1976 to 2002.

The sculptures are composed of acrylic yarn, a material that for Sandback held no significant associations. The yarn’s soft, fuzzy profile invokes a less crisp line than that produced by other mediums, and its fiber makeup absorbs rather than reflects light. The resulting effect allows for a seamless and symbiotic relationship between the material, its composition and the site it inhabits. The mutable character of any Sandback sculpture is relative to its site, and its proportions are calibrated in response to the site’s architecture. While the line of yarn never posits to be more than a line, the linear imagination of the viewer envisions a plane. Trajectory, ascent and descent (the inherent qualities of a line) subside as the vibration of the invisible planes take precedence. The otherwise elusive void or vacancy is given form, illustrating Sandback’s ability to reveal the relationships between the incorporeal and concrete, the ethereal and the tangible.”