Last night was the first of our group critiques.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
There were seven of us in the group: four first years and three from the second. The instructor was an amiable man, and he made an effort to find out what each of us wanted from the critiques. I must admit that critiques are probably the last part of art school in which I’m interested. Still, I have to endure them, and it will help if the conversations are helpful and constructive. We’ll see. Mainly, I don’t feel like there’s much anyone can tell me about any current projects, because I don’t usually show things in process. But I’ll figure out a way to keep things congenial and make the best out of it.
As for the art we saw, it was so radically different that I proved difficult to really make assessments on either side, which is, actually really good. If we all did very similar things, the possibility for shade would increase, as we’d have to get into the “finer points” of how the works are distinguished from each other.
I’m not late getting up (I awoke at 645 am) but I’m a bit later getting to school. Happily there’s nothing that I’m required to attend today, so being late is okay. Heaven knows that I have to be up and at the studio at 8 am tomorrow, as the Tasker I’ve hired would like to meet at that time. Too bad, as I have a dinner tonight.
Today I took a number of shots for the stockade project and set up the camera angles for tomorrow’s shoot. I’m not thrilled that I’m required to be uptown at 8am, but no matter. That also means that once I finish (and clean up) I can relax for a good bit on Friday. I’ll probably try to make a movie again, and hopefully it will engage me more than that Magnificent Seven.
I turned in a review of an art exhibition for class. I went to a show at Marlborough Chelsea by a fellow graduate of Columbia. His name is Lars Fisk and he finished in 2005. Perhaps I’ll post that review, here.
Tim Roseborough, Art Criticism, September 29, 2016
SOFTEE by Lars Fisk
at Marlborough Chelsea
545 West 25th Street
New York, NY
September 8 – October 15, 2016
A typical afternoon of gallery hopping for me is just as described: I hop from one gallery to another, breezing through the doors, my sight speedily flitting from piece to piece like a hummingbird. For better or worse, I like to think that I am correctly receiving the information a show has to offer in that first moment of contact. If the show passes a threshold of intrigue or interest, I might linger for an extended time and ruminate on the art works.
A more cynical way of describing my routine of art viewing is that I am an example of the contemporary human in a 21st century developed country: media-addled and possessing a gossamer attention span.
An unfortunate malady of our modern age is that spectacle is somewhat necessary in order to pique any type of notice from the typical human. If our eye isn’t seduced immediately, we disregard the subject with scant notice. For this reason, many contemporary cultural products feature a “hook” or “gimmick”: an easily digestible and distinguishable trait that snags the attention of over-stimulated brains. The cultural production in the milieu of the art world is not immune to this strategy. This may account for the mainstream art world’s attraction to giant balloon-dog sculptures, animals suspended in formaldehyde and gilded toilets.
The pieces in Lars Fisk’s show, “Mr. Softee,” at Marlborough Chelsea, fall firmly into the camp of objects that deliver a “hook.” In this case, however, the work does so with a sense of care, craft and obsessive detail that overrides any notions of a “cheap thrill.”
Fisk, a 2005 graduate of the MFA program at Columbia University, has created a set of sculptures that appropriate real-world objects (an ice cream truck, New York subway station walls, industrial buildings, trees, a parking lot) and transforms them into spherical forms, warping them in a way that resembles an extreme fish-eye lens.
The fascinating gimmick, besides the comically cartoonlike alteration, is that the objects are composed of the materials from which their real-world analogs are usually made. For instance, a ball-shaped piece, the texture of which resembles a tree is, in fact, composed of wood and bark.
Here, Fisk elevates banal forms by altering and radically de-contextualizing them, building on the cut-and-paste-into-the-gallery work of an artist like Gordon Matta-Clark, while adding the au courant muted giggle of irony.
The work is also a wry comment on minimalist sculpture, as if mundane objects were compressed into these more whole and human-scale forms, per the tenets of Robert Morris.
Fisk is offering us the veracity of life, comically perverted with a pleasant whiff of whimsy, much the way a flat block of ice cream is scooped into spherical forms for the viewer’s delectation.
And here is the actual image of the paper, for fun: