New York, New York

I was in New York a couple of weeks ago for the art fairs, but I think enough has been written on them, so I’ll spare you more bad reviews…

However, I did get to a number of museums and saw some good exhibitions. The first was “Martin Kippenberger: The Problem Perspective,” which runs through May 11. Maybe some of you saw it at LA MOCA where it originated. It’s a seminal show including TONS of work by the conceptual artist who died unexpectedly in 1997 at the age of 44. Check out MOMA’s website for more info on the show. There is also a very comprehensive catalogue that accompanies the show.

Another work at MOMA that really caught my attention was by a Lebanese artist named Walid Raad. It’s part of a permanent collection show called Here is Every. Four Decades of Contemporary Art, which is on display through March 23. The installation consists of a series of works on paper arranged in a grid. Each piece is approximately 20 x 24 inches and there may be as many as 40, all framed in simple wood frames. Each work in the grid contains a miniscule image in the middle of a large sheet of white paper. Those tiny images are fragments of much larger photographs that depcit some horrific bombing in a middle eastern city. The city and the date are noted on the right-hand corner of each piece. It so simply and poignantly points out our lack of attention to these atrocities — the astounding loss of life, the massive destruction of towns and cities and culture, the grief and pain of thousands and thousands of survivors. For some reason, the piece had an overwhelming effect on me.

If you get to MOMA, or not, you should check out Performance 1: Tehching Hsieh. Tehching Hsieh is a performance artist who, in this particular piece from 1978-1979, locked himself in a cage for one full year, deprived of human contact, art, news, reading material, etc. His friend brought him food once a day and removed his waste. He also photographed the artist on each day of  Hsieh’s self-imposed incarceration. I had heard about the work, but had never seen the documentation. I’m still not sure what to think of it, but it DOES make me think….He also has an installation at the Guggenheim documenting another year-long performance where Hsieh punched a timeclock with a camera every hour, every day, every month, for an entire year. The photographs and a time-lapsed video are part of the installation. Grueling, it would seem…..but, fascinating to see the documentation. I’d love to know what you think.

The punch clock installation is part of The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860 – 1989. This show was a high point in my art viewing. According to Alexandra Munroe, Senior Curator of Asian Art, the exhibition is about how ideas from Asian sources have been transmitted to American artists. The exhibition includes iconic art and artists from  the late 19th century and most of the 20th century– much of it very familiar work, but seen through a very different lens. I was  happy to see the inclusion of many CA artists: Bruce Connor, Tom Marioni, Paul Kos and David Ireland, to name just a few. However, the one CA artist they missed and whose work fits perfectly with the exhibition’s theme is Lewis deSoto. (Fortunately, you still have time to get to the ICA to see his solo show through this Saturday, March 21. ) Ann Hamilton was also included and created a site-specific work for the Gugg’s rotunda that responds to the show’s thesis. If you’re in the Museum, and you hear a bell ring, get to a railing and look up. The Gugg’s website for The Third Mind exhibition includes a great clip that gives a good overview of the exhibition.

Of course, I came home sick as a dog — but it was worth it!