Follow up: Ann Hamilton’s ONEEVERYONE prints

In a previous post on The Art Show 2014, I wrote about Ann Hamilton’s ONEEVERYONE series. For this project, Hamilton photographed fair attendees and printed their images for display in Carl Solway Gallery’s booth:

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I had my picture taken, in part because I got to pose for Ann Hamilton and in part because each sitter would be mailed a print of someone else who participated in the experience. I received my photo last week:

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Because Hamilton photographed subjects standing behind a membrane, many individual details are intentionally out of focus. But those that remain pressed up to the surface–his nose, a lock of hair–are hauntingly present.

Update: I’d love to know whose photo this is. Please share this post with anyone who might help me identify him! 

Food as art, art as food, and the luxury of eating beauty

I have long viewed the world as an aesthetic wonderland. I love Art (with a capital A), but one of my great joys is finding beautiful and challenging things amidst activities of everyday life. Seeing art in a museum is always a joy, but to me, seeing defaced posters on a scaffold on the way to the subway is often more exhilarating, because it makes my routine just a bit more memorable.

I went to Japan for the first time last year and noticed, immediately, that aesthetics permeated everyday space in wonderfully delicate and subtle and seductive ways. The packaging for even the smallest purchase was perfectly folded, beautifully designed, and elegantly presented upon completed sale. The fruit in specialty stores was rich in color, rounded, and plump, shown as luscious objects whose looks could be rivaled only by implied flavor. The chocolates looked more like Donald Judd sculpture than confections:

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The food has stuck with me, perhaps more than anything else. The idea of consuming beauty was not new to me: every time I look at a painting, I consume with my eyes. But digesting in an actual sense–imbibing and chewing and swallowing–gives the absorption another sort of richness. This became clearest for me during a meal at Narisawa exactly one year ago. The pictures can speak for themselves:

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“Essence of the Forest”

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“Chiayu, Sweet fish”

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“”Ash 2009″ Scene of the seashore”

 

On The Art Show 2014

Last week, I wrote about the Armory Show and its ability to overwhelm me annually. Today’s post is about another fair that took place that same weekend in early March: The Art Show. With a smaller-scale format (a tighter space, fewer galleries, and generally smaller artworks) than the Armory Show, The Art Show is sometimes overshadowed. I, however, found this fair to be worth my visit in every way. Congrats to Sanford Smith and Associates (and fair director Emily Christensen!) for a job well done.

Where the Armory Show exhausted, The Art Show invigorated.

Here are a few of the artists, artworks, and ideas that stood out:

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Sean Kelly Gallery’s display of Kehinde Wiley’s work immediately caught my eye. The opulent gold leaf and bright red booth walls drew me in. The stunning execution of works themselves, which present contemporary figures in formats borrowed from Russian icons, kept me there.

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Kehinde Wiley, St. Gregory Palamas, 2014, 22k gold leaf and oil on wood panel, 40 x 24 x 2 in.

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Having worked on multiple exhibitions featuring art by James Castle, a well known American self-taught artist, I had a soft spot for the selection of his constructions, books, and soot-and-spit drawings on view at Peter Freeman, Inc.. I was particularly impressed by the gallery’s display, as they borrowed installation ideas from Castle shows at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Museo Reina Sofia.

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Whilst the Wiley and Castle displays held such impact because of their “solo show” approach, there were some wonderful individual pieces visible within group displays also. One of my personal favorites was this etching from 2000 by Lucian Freud, on view at Matthew Marks Gallery.

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And finally, I was most impacted by Ann Hamilton’s photographic work-in-progress at Carl Solway Gallery. Hamilton was in residence throughout the fair, photographing attendees as part of her ongoing ONEEVERYONE series. Pictures were printed on newsprint and displayed in the booth (seen above). As part of this project, each sitter will be mailed one of these photographs of someone else who participated in the experience.

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Here’s a photo of me having my photo taken for this project. As you can see, Hamilton shot participants behind a hazy membrane so as to distort features not pressed directly against the surface. The dreamlike effect creates a unity amongst the sitters, removing many specifics of each person and creating connections between all. I will write another blog post about this project–in more detail–when I receive an image of another participant in the mail!

On the 2014 Armory Show

Holland Cotter’s recent review of the Whitney Biennial included a line that stuck with me: “I left feeling pretty much the way I do when I leave an art fair, full but empty, tired of dessert, hungry for a sustained and sustaining meal.”

I usually feel a little empty after art fairs. As though–to borrow a statement from Sherlock Holmes (and a concept from dear friend and author Maria Konnikova)–I’ve seen but not observed the objects or experiences around me. The Armory Show is consistently one of the most overwhelming fairs I attend. And sheer numbers make it hard to see art: the number of visitors, number of galleries, and number of different artworks on view all conspire to draw attention away from any individual object.

This year, I left the Armory Show exhausted and frustrated. I could barely edge through the crowds at Pier 94, let alone look at objects.

A few days later, with some time to digest, I realized that this frustration was trumped by some other, more lasting impressions.

Art fairs are terribly important for the art world and for galleries. They can connect clients and dealers, promote previously-unknown artists, and show the state of a particular art world at a given time. For me, art fairs are important because they make me hungry: for information, for understanding of artists I may not have previously encountered, and for in-depth viewing of individual objects away from the buzz of these dynamic and electric venues. They make me appreciate quiet time in a museum or gallery, standing face-to-face with an artwork. While Cotter’s “full but empty” statement speaks to the immediate aftermath of the show, the “hunger for a sustaining meal” can and should be the far more powerful–and far reaching–outcome.

With that, here are some snapshots of favorite artworks from the Armory Show:

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Nick Cave Soundsuits at Jack Shainman

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David Scher at Pierogi Gallery

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Michelangelo Pistoletto at Galleria Repetto

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George Widener at Ricco/Maresca Gallery

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Sol LeWitt and the Philadelphia Wireman at Fleisher Ollman Gallery

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Thornton Dial at Andrew Edlin Gallery

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Alice Neel at Aurel Scheibler