Anemic Blog would like to take this special occasion to venture out of the realm of visual art and into that of music…
My friend Jesse Brown (you can check out his Tumblr at here) is currently independently producing the premier of his opera When We Dead Awaken.
“When We Dead Awaken” is the first opera written by composer, J. A. Brown, adapted from the play by Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. The last of Ibsen’s plays, “When We Dead Awaken” abandons the biting satire for which the writer is known in favor of a subtle meditation on the subjects of life, fulfillment, happiness, and forgiveness. Viewed by some as Ibsen’s personal statement and swansong, this play contains a quiet intensity not because of what it says about society, but rather what it says about the artist.
The libretto for the opera has been adapted from the English translation (by William Archer) and set by Mr. Brown. This piece is scored for a chamber orchestra of twenty musicians and five singers and runs approximately two hours.
The production is run and performed by students of Bard College and the Bard College Conservatory of Music in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY.
*PREMIERE* April 9th, 8:00PM
*ENCORE* April 11th, 2:00PM
This kind of self-driven, non-institutionally dependent artistic effort exemplifies the things that keep my faith in art alive. And now for the shameless plug: You can help make this opera happen for as little as $5 on KickStarter.com, a website that allows individuals to donate to the projects of all kinds of artists and innovators (which is awesome). Follow this link if you’re interested in helping, and be sure to check it out if you’re in the New York area (it’s just a two hour train ride from the city).
I snapped this awful cell phone picture Saturday night at BRUCEFORMA, a performance event in conjunction with the BRUCENNIAL, in (informal) conjunction with the Whitney Biennial. This is not, in fact, an image of the performace, but rather the enthusiasm of two young men jumping up on the stage for an extended moment of art love afterwards.
The event, presented by the Bruce High Quality Foundation, a Brooklyn based artist collective, consisted of a menagerie of hipsters in a SoHo room lit by neon lights and several garbage cans full of Natty Ice. I couldn’t help but feel like I was back at school watching a bunch of stoned 19 year olds try to pass their gallivants off as art, but I think that unrefined, sophomoric style was all fully intended.
I stayed for one performance, in which an eBay scam (presumably created by the Foundation) involving a witch advertising a spell to increase a person’s buttocks was presented in the form of a gaudy PowerPoint, music, and spoken word. The group displayed a reply from one poor man desperate for a little more junk in the trunk, and willing to pay for it, immediately followed by the witch’s response that she and the coven had gotten right on it and guaranteed he would have a juicy behind in no time.
The art of screwing people over is an interesting one (note Artur Zmijewski’s manipulative video pieces), and though the performance did not focus solely on this aspect, it’s what stood out for me. When artists start to see “civilians” merely as potential marionettes in their schemes, they may create interesting work, but in the end, only retreat further art’s ever more removed domain. In other words, rather than simply existing at a distance from the rest of society, they’re actively shoving it away.
I think the intended message may have been something more along the lines of “see how easily people buy bullshit,” and yes, Bruce High Quality Foundation, I agree. But maybe it wasn’t the poor flat-butted eBay user buying the bullshit, it was all of us in the audience and, by proxy, the adoring audiences at Performa (the seminal performance art review from which this event took tis name) and the Whitney Biennial.
(more on the Biennial later. Personally, I thought it was terrific).
White Columns is pleased to present a project organized by Margaret Lee.
These potatoes look real but they are not real. They have appeared twice before in two separate installations, though never as autonomous objects. They have been paired in the past with a cake sculpture and other cast vegetables. The potatoes, in this installation, exist with and within the works of Michele Abeles and Darren Bader.
Somewhere in between collaboration and curation, Margaret Lee uses her potatoes to intermediate between the works themselves and the other two participating artists. Neither artist was asked to follow any guidelines or rules in their approach to the project (except that they incorporate the potatoes into their own work) and all the resulting works have singular authorship. In working with Lee, Abeles uses a pile of potatoes as a prop in a new ongoing series of human-cum-still life photographs. In another image, she crudely uses the digital gesture of “cut and paste” by taking a photograph of the pile of potatoes and pasting it onto one of her pre-existing still life images (which is also present in the exhibition). Bader, inserts a glass onto a shelf lined with potatoes and also buries an iPod in a large pile of potatoes, which connects to two large speakers, nestled into an armchair, as Alicia Keys’ “No One” plays on random repeat, yes – “no one, no one, no one”.
Johannes Wald at Konrad Fischer, Berlin
démouler la grâce
Konrad Fischer Gallery Berlin is pleased to announce the opening of the 4th exhibition of the series Fischer oben (1st floor space) with the exhibition démouler la grâce by the artist Johannes Wald.
For several years Johannes Wald (born 1980) has been addressing essential questions through his work regarding sculpture. When can a work be considered as completed? Can the process of the making of the work, the realizing of its form, be preserved within the final work? Could a longing for grace and beauty, a desire to animate the material still be considered a credible motivation of an artist’s work today?
Placed on a rack with different levels we find several gypsum molds in an incoherent sequence. They are obviously negative forms, which are being used to cast the shapes of clay models, in order to allow the pouring of the form with bronze or another more noble material. Normally these molds are not seen as they have to be destroyed during the casting process. Several b/w-photographs clarify the nature of the molds showing a double exposure of the image of a classic clay head portrait overexposed by an image of the mold containing the head’s negative form. It becomes clear that the molds which themselves hold remarkable aesthetic qualities are only intermediate steps towards a goal which no longer seems interesting enough for the artist to pursue. Thus they indicate an unfinished process which demands a deeper level of reflection from the viewer than any, even perfect, imitation of classic beauty ever could.
In the vestibule adjoining the installation we find a small sheet of paper with a text describing a strangely dense, forged metal object – a perfect sculpture. At first sight it feels strange that the artist is only able to come close to such a work through the medium of language given the intense materiality of the installation he shows next door. But here as there perfection exists only within the head, as an idea – be it articulated through language or grasped through the forms in front of us.
Group Show at NURTUREart
NURTUREart Non-Profit, Inc. is pleased to present Eternal Return, a group exhibition curated by Christine Spangler and Tyler Wriston in our gallery at 910 Grand Street in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The exhibition features Jonathan Brilliant, Cody Trepte, Thomas Lendvai, Reuben Lorch-Miller, Judith Braun, Joy Curtis and Tara Parsons.
Calling upon Friedrich Nietzsche’s theory of ‘eternal return’ for inspiration, Eternal Return brings together seven artists who fashion repetitive, accumulative, or cyclical forms from simple materials, resulting in works that are quiet yet psychologically charged. This interdisciplinary exhibit will include three site-specific installations made just for NURTUREart.