Solutions to the Commercial Painting Problem

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BmoreArt’s Picks: Baltimore Art Galleries, [...]

Saskia Krafft visits Fridman Gallery, Tanya Bondakdar Gallery, and the New Museum

After work, I always try to visit interesting new galleries. All of these spaces are somehow located on my way home after work at the LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies in Upper West Side, Manhattan. They are all in Manhattan, halfway to my apartment in Brooklyn.

After living most of my life in Germany, here in the US I am overwhelmed by the commercial side of art, especially painting. I am interested in finding exhibitions and artists who found other solutions to “painting” — by drawing, sculpture and finding other innovative ways to create an image of our world. Whether using flat wooden sheets on photo paper (Lisa Oppenheim), sculptural installations (Pia Camil), sound (New Ear festival) or by creating an archive around a specific topic (Love2016 *in a subsequent post), these four exhibitions present the artist’s ideas but also communicate them through innovative means.

In addition, these exhibits present a strong opposition for me to the easier-to-sell painting-dominated art market and made me think outside of the box — about myself, where I’m from and where I want to go. These exhibits are all, in their own ways, different, misshaped, and inspiring.



NEW EAR FESTIVAL – Fridman Gallery

The “New Ear Festival” was a week at Fridman Gallery dedicated to performances of representatives of today’s sound art landscape.

The artists worked with ‘undesirable tones’ or classical concert instruments, field recordings of daily life, synthesizers and turntables, voices and chants, feedbacks and other accidents to question our entire understand of what sound, music and noise might be. They presented a great combination of both technical tinkering and sensible auditory stimulation.

The event was presented by Mona Chromatic, a drag queen and art critic at Hyperallergic, who tried to find evidence of early sound art in ancient paintings. Many of the performances were extremely challenging to the listener.

Participants Marina Rosenfeld and Ben Vida operated within spheres of our trained concept of music and created beautiful soundscapes. These were 15 minutes of well-mixed rhythmical experimentation. Whereas Phil Niblock thrashes out the listeners ability to listen and thereby questions whether sound is always something pleasant and convenient.

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The New Ear Festival at Fridman Gallery featured a series of unique, terrific and extremely diverse evenings in this refreshing different-minded New York gallery, including:

Marina Rosenfeld and Ben Vida
Byron Westbrook + Stephen Vitiello and Andrea Parkins
Leila Bordreuil with Peter Evans, Jaimie Branch and Joanna Mattrey
Phill Niblock + screening of “The Movement of Phill Niblock”
Cecilia Lopez, video/sound installation
CT-SWaM:: spatial sound works & talks
Kevin Beasley: Listening Room

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Stay safe and warm: The (un)intentional comfort zone: Lisa Oppenheim at the Tanya Bonakda Gallery 

Lisa Oppenheim presents a new body of work at Tanya Bonakda Gallery. This series of photograms can be seen on the first floor of the Chelsea gallery and the upstairs part of the show consists of older mixed-media works and her woven pattern paintings. Oppenheim’s work has an appealing attraction and always on the border between abstraction and recognizable elements. Her imagery is sublime and stays general, which makes it mystical and easy to read too many critical ideas into her work. Oppenheim knows how to hypnotize people and satisfy today’s desire for patterns and ornaments.

For her recent pieces she uses thin slices of wood as negatives applied directly to a photosensitive surface to create these photograms which are then repeated and flipped horizontally and vertically. The wood portrayed in each image is reiterated in the frame itself.
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Pia Camil: Souvenirs, Memories, a Naked Overall at The New Museum

Pia Camil invites the visitor to exchange items for those in her current installation at The New Museum during a series of six public events.

A Pot for a Latch” presents a participatory sculptural installation produced specifically for the Lobby Gallery. Inspired by the modular display systems typically used by vendors, Camil created a space for memories, souvenirs and knick-knacks.

Expensive and dirt cheap items fuse to sculptures about the last shopping trip, the last weird relationship, cultural biographies or political statements. The interpretations are unlimited depending on the unlimited perspectives inside her installation. Every move changes the items which overlap, interact and become significant. Every onion skin of her installation holds around 10 items of the most different shapes, colors, textures, origins and ideas, but they create a giant accumulation by seeing straight through them.

unspecified-6Pia Camil’s installation also succeeded in talking about her own Mexican origins, bringing another more playful voice to the Mexico-America-debate but also in creating a multicultural installation piece as a platform to gather ideas and personal belongings, to celebrate a common narrative.

Pia Camil was born in 1980 in Mexico City, where she continues to live and work. Her work has been shown in Mexico, Colombia, France and the U.S. This presentation in the New Museum is her first solo museum show in New York.
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PIA CAMIL – A POT FOR A LATCH – 01/13/16 – 04/17/16

From the New Museum’s Website:

In her paintings, sculptures, performances, and installations, Camil draws inspiration from the urban landscape of her native Mexico City and engages with the history of modernism. Her projects transform the remnants of dysfunctional commercial culture, revealing the inherent problems as well as the latent aesthetic potential within inner-city ruin. Often using laborious fabrication processes in collaboration with local artisans, Camil deaccelerates the frenetic pace of mass commodification through the handcrafted production and intimate quality of her works. In recent projects, she has expanded the scope of her practice to create theatrical environments that invite the viewer to navigate the exhibition space and experience shifting viewpoints and juxtapositions.

For “A Pot for a Latch,” Camil presents a participatory sculptural installation produced specifically for the Lobby Gallery. Inspired by the modular display systems typically used by vendors, Camil has constructed a succession of gridwall panels of her own design, complete with built-in hooks, shelves, and other fixtures for displaying items. Composed of grids, lines, and geometric shapes, the structures form a volumetric drawing within the space of the gallery, referencing cheap commercial constructions as well as the serial patterning of paintings and sculptures made by Minimalist artists such as Sol LeWitt and Agnes Martin.

Author Saskia Krafft studied Art History at the University of Hamburg and Fine Arts and Design at the University of Fine Arts and Applied Sciences in Hamburg, Germany.

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