Slightly satisfying

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I picked up the phone the other day and had a nice chat with Brian Wallace, the new curator at Moore College of Art and Design. (see Libby’s post of 5/23/03 for more about Wallace) I was curious about Sarah Beck’s project “ODE,” coming in next week and needed a reality check. What was with Beck’s commercial-looking website which seems to be selling modular, do it yourself weapons in a pretty photo spread right out of a J Crew catalog.

“There’s definitely some irony at play…but seriousness of intent,” said Wallace, 42, newly-arrived from the Seattle area and raring to go.

Wallace, who exhibited a nice sense of humor, kept referring to Beck’s white tank as The Object, which I found kind of amusing. When he showed Beck’s work previously, Wallace parked The Object in a driveway in Belleville, a suburban neighborhood of Seattle and people streamed out to see it at the opening. The driveway belonged to friends of his parents.

Maybe she’s spoofing what we used to call the “military-industrial complex” I asked. More like the “military-info-tainment” network, he said, a phrase coined by someone in the late 90s he thought…OK so it’s like the GI Joe Style Channel. Got it.

“Some of it is deft….while seeming to be slight in a way,” he said. “That seems to be a thing in art now. There seems to be pleasure in the slightness….” Wallace said.

We’ve been wallowing in slight for some time. How about Richard Tuttle and, just to beat a dead horse, Matthew Barney, who, for all his portentiousness, seems to do little more than mirror the pop culture.

Dave Allen and the starlings at Arcadia also seems slight (see Libby’s post below).

I’m wondering about slightness in Philadelphia and having trouble coming up with names. Are we too earnest to be slight? I like to think we’re ahead of the trends and that the world will catch up eventually.

I wondered about getting The Object into the gallery…”That huge thing will be easier to bring in than Jorg Immendorff’s paintings…we’re going to have to take out windows [to get them in since they won’t fit through doorways]. Immendorff’s retrospective, including works from the 1977-78 series “Cafe Deutchland” [see image] opens Jan. 23 at Moore in a show co-curated by Robert Storr and Pamela Kort. The “Cafe” paintings have minimum heights of eleven feet, says Wallace.

Speaking of Immendorf, what about that sex and drugs escapade I read about in artnet? Wallace had heard about what he called the “fact-based rumor” and called up the artnet page as we talked. I heard the concern in his voice as he read the story.

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