I have to admit, the FAX show at the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore was a lot more fun than I expected. I don’t own a fax machine, let alone a phone line, and I suspect many people are in the same boat, so this is the first ‘challenge’ that participating artists had to deal with. The second challenge of the exhibit is learning to ‘think’ in fax machine language. How do you make an image ‘read’ clearly via fax machine? What kinds of images actually look cool after being faxed?
Most traditional artwork is going to look super lame undergoing this transformation, so artists had to accommodate. The strongest, most appealing faxes were bold graphics with funny, and often political, messages. Freed from the pressure to make something pretty or saelable, the artists in this show (caveat: myself included) resorted to other means: tools like printers and copy machines replaced paint and paper, and unnecessary details were eliminated in order to make way for the kinds of ‘happy’ accidents and marks that a fax machine makes.
The faxes will keep rolling in until the show ends on December 20, 2009. I would suggest visiting on more than one occasion, to see the accumulation grow in the next few months. Also, this means if you are one of those flaky (ahem) artists who forgot to fax your work in time for the opening, no problem! Keep faxing ’em in and hope the Contemporary doesn’t run out of paper.
September 12 – December 20, 2009
FAX is a traveling exhibition co-organized by The Drawing Center, New York, and iCI (Independent Curators International), New York, and circulated by iCI. The guest curator is Joao Ribas. The exhibition and the accompanying catalogue were made possible, in part, by members of the Drawing Room, a patron circle founded to support innovative exhibitions in The Drawing Center’s project gallery; and by support to iCI from The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, and iCI Benefactor members Agnes Gund, Gerrit and Sydie Lansing, and Barbara and John Robinson.