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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Portofino (2009) - Teengirl Fantasy

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Beg Waves (2008) - Ponytail

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Spring is Colder Than Winter (2009) - Anton Gerasimenko

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From WebWeb #1

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Drifter (2008) - Magali Reus

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(Originally via NETMARES/NETDREAMS v. 2.2)

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Surfing (2005) - Guthrie Lonergan

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Covert Channels

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A small but international group show organized by Mireille Bourgeois and Anais Lellouche, "They Told You So" takes its inspiration from the Situationists’ concept of détournement, reusing existing media to convey an opposing or alternate viewpoint. Here sound installation and video are the primary forms utilized. Purporting to address and ensnare the viewer, and using deliberate miscommunication to examine rhetoric and technologies that are oriented towards control, the works achieve varying degrees of success.

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Sibling Topics (section a) (2009) and K-CoreaINC.K (section a) (2009) - Ryan Trecartin

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Sibling Topics (section a) from Ryan Trecartin on Vimeo.


K-CoreaINC.K (section a) from Ryan Trecartin on Vimeo.


Videos by Ryan Trecartin, recently featured in The Generational: Younger Than Jesus.

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Sunset Solitaire (2005) - Joe McKay

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"In this performance/video I've written a program on my computer that lets me mix the sunset live. I have three gradient fields that I can constantly change with specially devised hardware. I then project from my computer onto a garage in a field behind my studio. I did this a few times - each time I went back to the studio and messed with the software, and each time I got a little better at the game. On my last attempt I videotaped the session, mixing for both an audience and the camera. The result is a 35 minute tape that takes us from a point when there is too much ambient light for the illusion to really work, to almost complete darkness. "

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S WEBSITE

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Basic Structures

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Image: Michael Joaquin Grey, Perpetual ZOOZ (Madonna and Child), 2005-2009 (Stills)

In the twenty years that Michael Joaquin Grey has been exhibiting, critics have often employed phrases like “back to basics” and “building blocks” to describe his interest in the conventions dictating the representation of concepts that form the foundation of human knowledge. An exhibition of Grey’s new and old work currently on view at P.S.1 includes a drawing that distills his approach: an outline of an infant playing with two red blocks is the image of a nascent mind grappling with the concept of one plus one. A larger drawing on an adjacent wall reuses the red squares to demonstrate the meaning of prepositions—above, under, behind, etc.—like a diagram in a grammar textbook. Object as preposition (1988-2007), also uses orange circles, a colored form that appears several times in the gallery. The fruit suggested by an orange round is a favorite symbol for Grey (his web site is www.citroid.com). Perhaps it’s because the tautology of the object’s name and the color that describes it produces a conundrum: a schematic picture of an orange is both an abstraction and a concrete representation. The repetition of the orange (or just orange, with no definite article) forces viewers to struggle with the same problem that Grey does: even at the most fundamental level, our descriptions of the world are frustratingly paradoxical and slippery.

Lean, instructional-pamphlet drawings dominate the first of the show’s two galleries; Perpetual ZOOZ (Madonna and Child) (2005-2009), a video projected in the second, darkened room, looks Baroque by comparison. In Grey’s “computational cinema,” The Wizard of Oz plays on both sides of a square that spins against a yellow field. The characters and scenery of the family classic ...

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