Every individual loss carries the resonance of collective loss, the ripple of disappearance.
Matt Freedman is at heart a storyteller, working for years as a writer and cartoonist. Stringing together obtuse veins of thought, he fabricates alternate realities and histories.
The exhibitions that rippled through our cultural fabric over the past year, at least those occurring in and around New York, have registered the predictable number of highs and lows, though 2014 did manage to plumb one nadir unlikely to be matched for a good long time.
To be honest, Relatively Indolent but Relentless, Matt Freedman’s artist’s book recounting his 35-day incarceration on Planet Cancer, got me at the dedication: “For Radiant Jude.”
Memories fade. That’s the one good reason, as far as I can see, to compile an end-of-year list. It’s sometimes startling to retrace what attracted my attention over the course of a year; it is also instructive to determine where such a miscellany of shows fits in with ongoing areas of interest, and which ones, in hindsight, merited the time it took to review them.
“This cartoon-y format creates a bias toward humor and lightheartedness, but I don’t feel like that at all,” Matt Freedman writes in his artist’s book, Relatively Indolent but Relentless (2013), directly beneath a drawing of a pair of scissors snipping off the tip of his tongue.
Tomorrow, Patti Smith will turn 66. The day before yesterday, on the 27th, her longtime guitarist Lenny Kaye reached the same age. “We’re three days apart,” Smith announced last week in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art at her “walk-in” concert celebrating the birthday of the French writer Jean Genet.
Unhampered by false modesty, the timeline for Matt Freedman’s installation, The Golem of Ridgewood reaches all the way back to “Eden—6000 BCE,” where “G-d fashions Adam from the dust of the ground, and animates him.” That’s certainly one way to begin at the beginning, as the King of Hearts gravely advised Alice.
In The Golem: How He Came Into the World (Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam), a German silent film from 1920, a rabbi molds the eponymous humanoid out of clay and animates it through an amulet containing a scrap of parchment written with a magic word.
After a stint in what felt like rather cramped quarters in Wynwood last year, the Aqua art fair returned to Miami Beach in a more relaxed setting — that even had a water feature — but the whole affair did feel a little underwhelming. I’m not a big fan of looking at art in hotel rooms since their low ceilings make everything feel cramped but that’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of good things to see on both levels of the complex.
While Aqua is normally known to be heavy with West Coast names, there were galleries from all over in the mix, including — from what I could tell — quite a few from Canada. Here is a selection of what I saw.