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Rosof and Fallon’s Biennial listing service, Part 3 actually


Here are a few more lists that you won’t find in the Whitney’s theme groupings (psychedelia, gender/sex, obsession, abstraction, etc). Suffice to say, the show’s worth seeing, and so are the many off-site extracurricular activities — from film and video programs to discussion, dance, performance and even burlesque — which may be the juice in this otherwise pleasant but standard-issue show.

1. Celebrity list. At the press preview, we saw several artists spilling the beans in the glare of tv cameras.

Julie Mehretu, dressed in dark pants and white shirt looked like an architect standing in front of her Lebbeus-Woods-like apocalypic city plans (sorry no picture);

Elizabeth Peyton (image top) looked like she stepped out of one of her paintings, fey and fashionable.

–We ran into Virgil Marti (image right) on the third floor in the Southern Gothic-meets-surfer-dudes section, a room populated by Rob Fischer’s barge full of sculptural rejects and photographs by Alec Soth and Katy Grannan and Catherine Opie.

Marti told us he was happy with the show. (His piece looks great by the way and its siting, between Cory Arcangel‘s darkened video chamber and the craft-influenced work of Jim Hodges seemed perfect.) Marti told us he initially worried about all the pieces in the show that had lighting elements (besides his piece that would be works by Spencer Finch, Mark Handforth, assume vivid astro focus). But he likes the Finch, “beautiful,” he said and followed up with “Anyway, it’s not a competition.” He laughed, looking for us to agree with him.

2. “Drawing Now” crossover list. Three artists who appeared in MOMA’s “Drawing Now” exhibit in 2002 are in this biennial — Julie Mehretu, Laura Owens (image left) and Elizabeth Peyton.

3. The stealth sculpture show list. Libby and I have been wondering whether sculpture is dead. We never believed in painting’s death but we do wonder if architecture and installation have beaten up on 3-D work leaving sculptors with nothing much else to do. Well this biennial answers that question with some great sculptural work. And I’m not just talking installations, some of which (Yayoi Kusama, Andrea Zittel) were among the strongest work in the show.

–First there are the works in Central Park (inflatables by Paul McCarthy, bronze cactus by Liz Craft, Olav Westphalen‘s life-size tiger, David Altmejd‘s monumental werewolf heads)

Richard Prince‘s homages to the American automobile, installed in a chapel-like alcove (image above)

Olav Westphalen‘s men in shackles (see Friday’s post)

Liz Craft‘s old mermaid (image above right)

Mark Handforth‘s I-95 pieces (see Friday post)

Rob Fischer‘s dead-sculpture barge (image above)

Julianne Swartz‘s site-specific sound sculpture in the stairwell

4. The sound and no fury list. Speaking of sound, this show had some noisy work in it. Some of it nice noisy, some of it not.

Julianne Swartz‘s group karaoke-bar-take on “Over the Rainbow” had a lot of Bill Murray lounge lizard in it. It was pleasant to hear its strains (either through the clear-plastic tubes or as background to other work)

Marina Abramovic‘s multi-screen video installation, which seemed a plea for peace of some sort, had a soundtrack — of children singing — that intruded on thoughts rooms away. The songs, in a language I didn’t know (maybe Russian?) had a strident, state-sponsored jargon feel, and I couldn’t block them out while looking at Robert Longo’s zen-like drawing of a curling wave. (image bottom shows Abramovic dressed as death conducting the children’s chorus)


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