Looking At "Looking At Music: Side 2&"

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Image: Marcia Resnick, Glenn O'Brien's TV Party, NYC. 1980.

A year ago the Museum of Modern Art’s media galleries hosted “Looking at Music,” an exhibition of process-based work from the 1960s and 1970s that included music videos by pop icons like David Bowie and The Beatles (as well as cult favorites Captain Beefheart and Devo) amid works by Nam June Paik, Joan Jonas, and other avant-garde heroes. Caitlin Jones expanded on the inclusions and their mutual connections in a review on Rhizome; I also wrote about how it traced two paths in process art, which were exemplified by the music of John Cage and Steve Reich. Whatever a viewer brought to the show, it’s safe to say that everyone felt a thrill from the incongruity of watching Bowie’s Space Oddity in MoMA’s white boxes. The approach helped tear Cage, Paik, and their cohorts out of the textbook, and demonstrated that while ideas germinated in strongholds of the creative intellect like Darmstadt or E.A.T.’s “9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering,” art did not exist in a vacuum. With “Looking at Music,” curator Barbara London set an agenda continued in an essay published in the March 2009 issue of Artforum, making a case for the study of music video in terms of process art in the late twentieth century.

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Image: Stephanie Chernikowski, Sonic Youth. 1983

Now “Looking at Music: Side 2,” on view through November 30, offers the flip side as it takes the exploration of the topic into the late 1970s and early ‘80s. If art-world favorites set the tone in last year’s exhibition, “Side 2” is dominated by album covers and concert posters. A sprawling mural of work by rock’n’roll photographer Bob Gruen overlooks a monitor showing a grainy video ...

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Required Reading

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Art Fag City's IMG MGMT series is on a roll! This week they posted "The Nine Eyes of Google Street View" by Jon Rafman, a meditative photo essay on Google Street View, culled from the artist's personal collection of screen captures. See below for a teaser, full essay here.

One year ago, I started collecting screen captures of Google Street Views from a range of Street View blogs and through my own hunting. This essay illustrates how my Street View collections reflect the excitement of exploring this new, virtual world. The world captured by Google appears to be more truthful and more transparent because of the weight accorded to external reality, the perception of a neutral, unbiased recording, and even the vastness of the project. At the same time, I acknowledge that this way of photographing creates a cultural text like any other, a structured and structuring space whose codes and meaning the artist and the curator of the images can assist in constructing or deciphering.

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Triptych (2009) - Siebren Versteeg

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Triptych 2009 from siebren versteeg on Vimeo.


Internet connected computer program output to gold leafed LCD monitors, realtime image searches for 'triptych'

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S WEBSITE

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Looking Back

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Image: Lisa Oppenheim, The Sun is Always Setting Somewhere Else, 2006 (Still, 35mm slide projection)

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Image: Lisa Oppenheim, Yule Log, 2008 (Still, 16mm film)

Lisa Oppenheim is interested in how the present viewer sees media of the past, and to study this she takes materials from archives and transforms them with editing effects that distill her interpretation of how an image’s meaning changes over time. For a show at tank.tv, on view through July 21, Oppenheim has revealed her sources and processes in texts accompanying five of her moving-image works. E-M-P-I-R-E reconstructs Andy Warhol’s eight-hour film of the same title using a single 100-foot roll of 16mm color film. “Unlike Warhol’s endurance test of extended filmic boredom, this version uses the language of structuralist ‘flicker’ films of the late 60’s and 70’s,” Brian O’Connell writes in an essay excerpted on tank.tv. He goes on to inform us that the rhythm of the flickering Empire State Buildings spells out “E-M-P-I-R-E” in Morse code—a system as obsolete as 16mm film. Explanations like these never hurt, but Oppenheim’s work is stronger when the transformation of an image over time is a compelling sight in itself. The two channels in Story, Study, Print (2005) juxtapose children’s posters used in predominantly African-American schools in the 1970s with a disconnected sequence of still and moving images; here, chance and obscurity force viewers to form their own associative links rather than relying on a statement to decode meaning. In Yule Log, 2008, a soothing image of a fireplace at Christmastime deteriorates through several repetitions, each one a 16mm copy of the last, while The Sun Is Always Setting Somewhere Else (2006) is a slide show where each frame shows a hand holding snapshots of a sunset ...

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reenactment (2009) - Harm van den Dorpel

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Size Small

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In New York City, time and space (and, of course, the ever-present dollar bill) have long operated as limiting factors in the exhibition of art. In response, curators and artists alike have had to eek out unique and innovative approaches to show work. Galleries such as Fake Estate have set up shop in former utility closets while curatorial initiatives like Apartment Show have taken up impromptu, one-night only residencies in homes across the city. Art Since the Summer of ’69, run by Hanne Mugaas, Fabienne Stephan and Paul-Aymar Mourgue d’Algue, is another such enterprising venture to carve out space, often in uncommon settings, to show work by emerging artists.

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A Whole New World? On the 53rd Venice Biennale

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Image: Aleksandra Mir, VENEZIA (all places contain all others), 2009

“Making Worlds”, the theme for this year’s 53rd International Art Exhibition curated by Daniel Birnbaum, argues that art should be seen as a form of “world making” and taken seriously as such. His accompanying essay in the catalog holds a distinctively transcendent ring to it, one that calls out for a universal solidarity through art, in stating, “Perhaps art can be one way out of a world ruled by leveling impulses and dull sameness. Can each artwork be a principle of hope and an intriguing plan for escape? Behind the immediate surface we are many - together and individually, through the multiplicity of imaginative worlds we hold within.” Given the very real worlds of national and political ambitions on the table in the Biennale’s pavilions, not to mention the surreal economic and class component to these sorts of events, Birnbaum’s curatorial statement, which suggests that art is autonomous from these factors, seemed like floral hyperbole in comparison. Why would the U.S. Pavilion be the only country to extend their Bruce Nauman exhibition to three locations across the city? And why would the United Arab Emirates Pavilion feature numerous models of large-scale cultural projects proposed for Abu Dhabi? The world’s fair mentality is here for the long run, that is to be sure. The strongest projects I viewed, in both the main exhibition and the pavilions, were able to eek out a space, certainly not a “world”, with a degree of critical distance and integrity away from the Biennale circus.

Venice is one of the few cities in the world to completely rely on boats for delivery, transportation, garbage disposal, and every other municipal need you can think of. The upkeep of the city is expensive due ...

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Camerautomata Charlie: Image Digesting Robotic Duck (2008) - Taeyoon Choi

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Duck out to a Park from Taeyoon Choi on Vimeo.

The duck takes picture when it detects flash light/ and also everytime it exits 'mode' of operation. There are few modes including 'driving', 'waiting', and 'printing'. Therefore some pictures are obviously of people taking picture at the duck and others are accidental.

- FROM THE PROJECT'S SITE

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Moving Pixel Portraits (2006) - Oliver Laric

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Interview with Samara Golden

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Image: Samara Golden, Yes no party, 2009 (Installation at Sculpture Center, Spring 2009)

Samara Golden’s colorful, multifaceted video and sculptural installations have been popping up quite a bit in New York City recently. Earlier this year, the artist’s "Yes no party" was set up within an alcove in the basement of the Sculpture Center in Queens as part of the group exhibition “In Practice Winter '09.” Golden then presented her sculpture "There's more but it's invisible" at Columbia University’s 2009 M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, and this piece is now on view at the Project Room at Marvelli Gallery in Chelsea until June 27. I spoke with the artist at the Sculpture Center and then at her studio, where we discussed her interest in combining video and sculpture, her incorporation of images culled from image searches on the web into her installations, and more. - Chloe Gray

You surf the web for images to incorporate into your installations. Can you talk about your surfing methodology?

Sometimes I start by typing in a broad term like “messy room,” and when I find a good picture I take elements out and print them, such as a lamp or a vase that I like. In other cases I use the "messy room” picture to help me figure out what I’m looking for; I like the mirror in the picture, so I search for “unique wall mirror” and see what I can find. It's very fun, like making an immediate wish list for a 2D thrift store.

On another level, I’m interested in what photographers call “gaining access”: the ability to have access to other peoples lives. Using the internet allows me access without interfering. Photographers often have to consider these issues because there is an implied ...

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