Visited galleries with other residents of ISCP (Didn’t get to know people yet but at least I recognise them). We went to Ronald Feldman Gallery and got an introduction to the space by Mr. Feldman himself (and gallery staff). Feldman was excited about the works he talked about (the works on display had an artist-as-archivist/witness emphasis). Their summer exhibition includes Dressing to Go Out / Undressing to Go In (1973) by Mierle Laderman Ukeles, who is represented by the gallery! The frame of the artwork had a cleaning cloth attached to it. Feldman talked very highly of Ukeles and made her sound like a superstar, which strangely, made me doubt Ukeles. Her work as the Artist-in-Residence at the New York City Department of Sanitation was framed as the foundation for contemporary artist-to-institution residencies. We were told that Ukeles started to work with sanitation workers because they were underappreciated and that their work was considered “dirty”. This made me feel uneasy. Why were the sanitation workers considered “dirty” and by whom? How does her art effect this? The “dirtyness” and underappreciation of sanitation workers made her initiative to work with them appear more noble (which is definitely not intended). Someone should do a project with Wall Street Bankers – They are surely more dirty then sanitation workers! Her exhibitions in Europe were celebrated.
After Feldman we visited The Drawing Center. There was an exhibition by Terry Winters but I wasn’t in the mood for drawings. The center had worked with The Center of Urban Pedagogy which seems like a really interesting organization. They have produced a comicbook called I Got Arrested! Now What? (2010) which is intended for juveniles who need to learn more about their rights.
The tour ended at the The Grey Art Gallery which presented the “Landscapes after Ruskin” exhibition. Lucy Oakley’s (Head of Education and Programs) gave us a very convincing tour (she was backed up by an intern whose name I forgot). The curator of the show had developed an interesting interpretation of “The Sublime”. The sublime is not about experiencing universal beauty (in landscapes, forms etc.) which is impossible to describe & becoming aware how insignificance humans are compared to nature… It is also awareness of ones mortality and a sense of the frailness of human life. The exhibition linked the anthropocene with the sublime, arguing that these are similar experiences! In both cases we (the spectators) feel ashamed of ourselves… Either for our pompous believe that humans are the owners of the world (The Wanderer above the Sea of Fog is humbled by the majesty of the mountains) or for the fact that we have tainted the world with pollution.
This has an interesting link to horses! Students of the Horse & Performance course felt ashamed in the face of the horse (when they failed to execute care taking tasks in an orderly fashion).
The galleries used miniature Greek columns as space dividers or as roofing panels – This is extremely interesting. I think we don’t need to see artworks… We need texts which frame the way we see the world (or fail to frame it, which is fun to witness too). What the curator intended to pass with the “Landscapes after Ruskin” exhibition would have been accomplished with a clever text. After reading it we would have understood media like this in the context of the contemporary sublime.
I’m riding my bike shirtless (it the only way to go).