Thursday, April 30, 2009

Group Show at BizArt

(I can't seem to load the BizArt website or find any information about this show, so I won't be able to refer to pieces or artists by there names, sorry)

It was nice to see some art on display at BizArt over the weekend, since the last time I was there the only thing in the gallery was a badminton net. The current show is , an all women group show. There was a nice variety of work, with every piece being quite good in its own right. As a whole the pieces were stronger on their own than together, but I suppose the fact that they were all made by female artists connnected them. The pieces ranged from conceptual to sculpture, sound, video, bugs, etc. Each piece was well executed both in terms of content and form. One piece that sticks out in my mind was a sort of contraption built of cameras, speakers, TV screens, and little vials containing fish and frogs. At the pace of what I think was a heartbeat, a slight electrical current was sent into the water, shocking the animals. By the time I we (as in Boyang and myself) got there most of the animals were lifeless bodies floating in the water. The ones that were alive would jump of move everytime a shock was sent through the water. Visually the piece was very ineresting, with wires and stands everywhere it was reminiscent of some amd scientist's experiment. While looking at the piece, I couldn't help but think back to the Interrupt show, specifically Wu Ye's Me Too (in which he repeatedly spun a rabbit around and let go of it until it died) and the liberal attitude towards animal life in China. Similar to the fish and frogs was a piece that was a wooden container filled with silkworm cocoons, with a them underneath. The wood was painted white and juxtaposed with the cocoons, there was a uniformity of color that made one look past the fact that there were maybe a couple hundred cocoons on the floor.

Overall the show had a certain playfulness about it, perhaps due to the variety of pieces and somehwat conceptual nature of each of them. And while none of the pieces specifiacally referred to the gender of the artist, as a whole the show exceeded my expectations and is certainly worth a look (unless you find silkworm cocoons gross).

Class last week was enjoyable with both Gerry Pryor from New York giving a short lecture and showing a video of his recent performace, Chance Running, as well as a documentary about 2000's Fuck Off Show. Gerry is somewhat of an art cliche or character, dressed in all black and speaking in a jargon that indicates a wealth of knowledge and expereince. His work, which I ahd not been familiar with prior to seeing the video, was interesting simply because of Gerry's willingness to use his body in a variety of ways in a public space for art. Even at 62 he seems remarkably fit, with his pieces often requiring a certain level of fitness to achieve. I'm not a huge fan of performance, but Chance Running was something to behold, even on video.
The video we watched about the making of the notorious Fuck Off show was maybe not quite as good as seeing the show (before it was shut it of course), but seeing the artist together setting up was a fascinating glimpse into the production of a high-profile art show. Most of what we saw was a number of Chinese artists, including organizer Ai Wei Wei, inflating the skin of a bull or ox. Once again the issue of animal rights is no where to be found and strangely I felt no pity for the animal, despite a number of my classmates around me vocaliziong their disdain.

That's about it for now, see you all on Friday for Zhao Chuan's performance and the Mommy Foundation Party

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