CHICAGO — We’re now a quarter of the way through Scottish artist Martin Creed’s year-long “residency” at the MCA Chicago. I put “residency” in quotation marks because Creed is only going to be here sporadically throughout 2012. So far, the MCA has put one new work by Creed on display each month, none of them new, so it’s more of an incremental retrospective at the moment.
CHICAGO — Martin Creed is a Scottish artist who won the British Turner Prize in 2001, but he is less well known in the United States. That might change in 2012, when Creed will be the artist in residence at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) for the whole year.
A golden nugget from James Kalm’s Facebook profile page and the birth of a fantastic new term, “vaginal surround sound.”
Richard Serra may be best known for his curving steel wall sculptures, but his earlier works erred even more on the side of conceptually abstract. The artist’s 1967 “Verb List Compilation: Actions to Relate to Oneself” kicked off a body of work in which a single verb directly translated into art. Check out “Hands Scraping” (1968) above.
Jennifer Bartlett’s latest exhibition Recitative at Pace Gallery shows the artist continually breaking down and rebuilding the base particles of art. In the enormous, open gallery installation, enamel-coated steel tiles spaced in rising and falling grids line the exterior walls. Each square holds its own combination of disparate elements of art, remixing line, shape, color and texture into an infinity of combinations. This central installation, “Recitative” (2009-10), is Bartlett’s longest painting composition ever at 158 feet. What at first appears to be a gallery-size abstraction coalesces into a didactic walk-through of art at the atomic level and a joyful celebration of what it means to make a purposeful artistic mark.
Could it be that the slick surfaces and lustrous finish fetish of high minimalism isn’t exactly suitable for the current atmosphere of economic austerity measures? Along with the painful recession consequences of mass job loss, gallery closings and the bloody fight over British arts funding cuts has come a suspicion of entities too big to fail: the black boxes of big banks and even bigger corporations. Taking this to the art world, I’ve been noticing an artistic suspicion of the hermetic perfection so glorified by minimalists like Donald Judd and Anne Truitt. Two current Chelsea exhibitions show artists taking down modernism and minimalism’s cold self-seriousness with the movement’s own weapons. In this first installment, check out Yuichi Higashionna’s Fluorescent at Marianne Boesky Gallery.
This past Thursday, sculptor John Powers presented excerpts of his ambitious project “Star Wars and Modernism: An Artist Commentary.” Accompanied by composer R. Luke Dubois and Columbia Art History Fellow and Triple Canopy senior editor Colby Chamberlain, who provided editorial assistance, the film is an original and provocative look at Star Wars not merely as a Hollywood blockbuster and mythic narrative, but as an art object.