The Strike zone

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Stella and I ran into basekamp and Taller Puertorriqueno last Saturday.

We also saw some nice grafitti art at 5th and Cecil B. Moore while driving up to Taller.

Here’s a brief look at Strike at basekamp. More about the others to follow.

The exhibit, a new version of a 2002 show at Wolverhampton Gallery in England curated by Gavin Wade and others, consists of slide projections of mostly text-based works onto four specially made walls. (top image is one projection on one wall).

The black flag in the right foreground near the door is a piece also. I’m sorry I don’t have the artist’s name. (I’ll get it)

The curatorial thrust of Strike was to ask artists two hypothetical questions:

1. what would a world without art be like; and

2. how art could strike a blow to the world’s structures.

There were approximately 100 answers from artists around the world including Markus Vater, Pae White, Paul Noble, Sal Randolph.

In basekamp’s installation, a laptop computer sitting on a work station made of grey and red milk crates near the front windows invites viewers to register their thoughts on the questions by drawing or writing their own answers. (image is Stella at computer)

While I took notes and photos and admired once again the lovely big space that is basekamp, Stella drew a picture which she said was what art would be like if there were no art (it was a vapid, kindergarten-esque picture of a smiling sun and a bunch of “v”s for seagulls.)

Overall, the image projections were hard to see during the middle of a sunny day with bright light streaming in the big windows. But since they seemed to be images of dense pages of text I’m not sure what you’re supposed to “see” anyway.

Jennifer Goettner, the basekamper minding the gallery, indicated viewing was better at night and that they were open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. and were getting some night-time traffic, especially on Fridays.

Because the projections repeat what’s in the show’s catalog (available at the computer station — in fact the catalog was the mousepad!) I browsed the show via the book — a good strategy, actually. Whether intended or not, the show itself appeared to take a position and answer its questions.

Words will take the place of art. And words — and maybe cartoons — or maybe computer communications — will be what strikes a blow — not art.

That said, two entries that struck a blow for the importance of visual art were Markus Vater‘s cartoon of two round-faced children above a caption that asks — hypothetically — who would you sacrifice first, a doctor or an artist? (right, image from catalog)

I also liked Paul Noble‘s “Why work,” a chunky word piece made from letters evoking building blocks. (left, image from catalog)

It spoke of labor and labor’s dignity and of creation as a kind of bedrock on which to build.

By the way, this show is part of the Big Nothing roundup.

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