Currin and the space between

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Post by Astrid Bowlby

I agree with Sid about the ICA noticing and honoring artists with local roots. However, I’m not sure such a lukewarm description of Currin’s work will make me look at it again, ie: “…well painted in a convincing, conservative way.” Is this really all we can ask for, all we can expect or hope for, from visual art? I’d like to give Sid another chance to convince me of Currin’s worthiness, but “accolades” like that ain’t gonna do it.

I want to comment on the Apfelbaum exhibition since Sid brought it up and reminded me. [image of Polly Apfelbaum exhibit at ICA, continuing until July 27.] I really like Apfelbaum’s work and have seen very strong exhibitions of single works, so I was looking forward to the ICA exhibition. Yet after seeing it, I was very disappointed. I am still trying to figure out why. Too much work? Perhaps. I think this brings me back to a continuous complaint I have about exhibitions, even surveys. They are too filled and not carefully placed. But even this does not explain my strong notion of something not quite right with that show.

It may be that some of the works needed clearer separation from each other, as in walls. It also might be that a survey involving purported installations (and I define this as work designed and driven in part, at least, by the space in which it is to be placed), must be even more sensitive to placement than would normally be required. And sensitivity of this type even in normal circumstances, is VERY important to me. But, of course the curators and artist in this case are sensitive to these issues, so….I’m still left with my dissatisfaction. I actually think the ICA space may be one of the culprits. I find it uninspired and often work I’ve seen elsewhere does not fare well in it. Did anyone else feel this way about this exhibition? Any thoughts on the ICA as a space?

–Astrid Bowlby is a Philadelphia artist and writer. See her work at Gallery Joe

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