Friday sampler

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Libby and I started our First Friday early in the morning at the press preview of the wonderful, political and multi-culti video round-up “Experiments with Truth” at the Fab. (Fabric Workshop and Museum) With a maze-like environment by Diller and Scofidio that included padded hallways leading to padded cell viewing rooms (presumably all that padding was to keep the soundtracks from bleeding into each other), the layout is dark and odd and feels a little like a layout for a series of peepshows in a porn house (like I’ve ever been in one….). I’m digesting the show and will go back and look more and have more to say. I know Libby will too. Meanwhile, the clips I saw of the videos, selected by London-based guest curator Mark Nash (he co-curated Dokumenta 11 in 2002), are terrific. (top image is from Francesco Vezzoli‘s “The End of the Human Voice,” 2001, a piece mixing French new wave and Fellini.)

On the evening agenda I ran into Pentimenti, Nexus, Third St. and Temple for quick peeks at the goings on. Here’s some commentary, rather undigested, and pictures.

Pentimenti

The three artists included seem to have hearth and homeland on their minds.

Lisa Dahl’s embroidery-enhanced paintings on found fabric or wallpaper are little essays on every cliche about home. The works, which describe split-level and other suburban housing, are pleasant but the imagery and words as in “Keep the Home Fires Burning” (pictured) didn’t take it far enough a field for my taste.

Nancy Agati’s tiny paintings on acrylic cubes (many are around one inch by one inch, the biggest is three and a half by two inches) are mirages of land that might be anywhere but happen to be from Santa Fe where the artist was in residence over the summer. (left is one of Agati’s images. I’m sorry I didn’t jot down the title)

Painted in a brushy, impressionist fashion, they were pleasing landscape chunks and their prices, from $75 to $250, were winning as well.

William Steiger‘s etchings and drawings present a world of tall buildings, precisely defined against a pristine white background that — except for the colors — reminded me Pennsylvania barn painter Charles Sheeler’s universe.

I liked Steiger’s emphasis on structure better when it was focussed on lacey objects like a ferris wheel or a tunnel that might be a tunnel of love or a tunnel for a bullet train but evoked an imminent vertiginous fall into another land. (shown is “Tunnel,” aquatint etching)

Pentimenti continues to be a gallery that serves up good art, packaged beautifully and with a sense of the importance of the human in art.

Winter of Discontent at Nexus

The cooperative gallery is having its first all members exhibit in a while, says Nick Cassway, Nexus chief, who was beaming from ear to ear when I ran into him.

I didn’t take a long look at the show, called “Discontent,” so this is not meant as a review but I’d go back. Mostly, I was pleased to see Chris Vecchio‘s interactive “Remote” a button on a box (shown) that, once pushed, turned off the lights in the back gallery. I played like an annoying two year old switching the lights on and off — then became the victim of somebody else’s play while I tried to look at work in the back space and the lights kept going out….grrr. This is Vecchio up to his usual interesting tricks. Love it.

In between times, I was able to snap this shot of Tom McCloskey’s “Sleeping,” a little Gumby-like character with a 5″ flat monitor embedded in his head. (shown)

McCloskey’s statement about the piece was the thunderous: “I would rather be discontent than to sleep my life away with contentment.”

Like I said, the show is one I’ll go back to, to spend time with these two works — and see what I missed in the large show.

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