Posted inArt

Can Art Replace Therapy?

Welcome to New York City’s newest treatment center. You pay fifteen dollars to enter a desolate concrete basement filled with men and women in lab coats. They hand you pillows to sit on and advise you to close your eyes and visualize your problems, to later be treated by an assortment of self-improvement exercises. Mexican artist Pedro Reyes is the Gestalt and Marxist-influenced mastermind behind this mental ward, and he’s here to solve all your city-induced psychological stress.

Posted inNews

Guggenheim Might Go to Finland, But Probably Won’t

Even after the reviled imperialist Thom Krens regime ended at the venerable Guggenheim, the museum is still trying to push its brand with new art outposts abroad. Yeah, the Guggenheim Bilbao was a surprise architectural and economic success, but it’s not a given that the same windfalls will come to every international Guggenheim post. Add to that the fact that most planned Guggenheim outposts have fallen through. So really, a Helsinki option is in the works? Why don’t I feel good about this?

Posted inBooks

Reading Brooklyn Rail’s November Issue

This month’s Brooklyn Rail didn’t just update me on the critical reception of the past months’ art exhibitions, it also kept me well-informed about the state of vegetarian burritos, Indian call centers and the misunderstood G train! The November issue (my copy is elegantly covered in a Jonas Mekas lithograph of a hand cradling a flower bud) is a primer for anyone who hasn’t necessarily seen all of the right shows and read all of the right books for the recent spat of cultural production. Taken as a whole, though, the weighty newsprint publication’s most interesting articles lay in unexpected places and concern unexpected topics.

Posted inArt

How the Guggenheim’s “Play” Failed

The first offering of the Guggenheim’s Youtube Play biennial kicked off with a lot of spectacle, not limited to a ladder-perch musical performance by Ok Go and a stage setting more suited to a television show than an art exhibition. From the emcee to the nightclub vibe, this was no normal biennial exhibition. In fact, judged as an art exhibition, I think Play was a failure.

However, that doesn’t mean the whole event was a failure. In evaluating Play I think we have to first carefully state our terms- what we’re judging the show as and what we’re judging it against.

Posted inOpinion

Guggenheim’s “YouTube Play” Greeted With Ambivalence

If you happened to be hiding under a social media rock for the past few days, you might have missed the Guggenheim museum’s short-lived multimedia/indie band/internets extravaganza that was their Youtube-sponsored “Play” biennial. The biennial was in reality a juried exhibition that anyone could submit a video to, the only requirements being that the video had to be made in the past two years and come in under the 10 minute mark. More spectacle than art experience, commentators seem generally down on the show.

Posted inArt

Guggenheim’s “Play: A Biennial of Creative Video” Wows

Last night, Manhattan’s Guggenheim Museum was transformed into a futuristic new media award’s show venue as the finalists of the first Play: A Biennial of Creative Video biennial were announced to a crowd of Google, Intel, HP, Guggenheim employees (all sponsors of the event), artists, and new media types who were wow’d by the large projections on the interior and exterior of the Fifth Avenue landmark.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright could’ve never predicted that his building would serve as an ideal screen for a 21st Century online video awards show but it was the ideal venue for the whirlwind of projections that provided the backdrop for a livestreamed event prepared by the online video giant, YouTube.

Posted inArt

When Modernism Ruled Europe

Between World War I and II, there was a strong gust of classicism that swept through the Western European avant-garde. Artists from across the continent embraced the language of the ancients as a way to reflect their own time and culture. This taste for antique forms can be interpreted in many different ways, including as an attempt to seek order in a tumultuous time, a way to cloak a modern ideology with powerful symbols, or a reaction to the radicalism of the previous decades. Regardless of the root cause or causes, the style that was at once familiar and dignified was a rich source of inspiration for artists, designers, and architects of all types.

This odd chapter in modern art is the subject of the Guggenheim Museum’s current exhibition Chaos and Classicism: Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918–1936, which is a very attractive exhibition that gathers together a remarkable array of objects associated with almost every -ism from the era. The power of classicism is partly due to its malleability and how it was able to lend its voice to any and every modern movement that sought refuge in its silhouettes, drapery, linear logic, and airs of history.