01-26 Location. 1800 Leonidas Street (Carrollton) Date(s). July 14, 2009 7:55 a.m. Name(s). Brian Christopher Smith (22) Notes. Face up with multiple gunshot wounds, from the Tooth for an Eye series, 2008-2012. Gelatin silver print. Collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
I spent a lot of time last summer at SAAM’s Democracy of Image exhibition, and this was probably my favorite piece in it. I spent a lot of time looking at it in the dimly lit Granite Gallery, enjoying my last few minutes of my lunch break. At first, it seems like a straight forward image, despite the unusual round frame, with its clean lines pulled taught, cutting across the image. But what you are also looking at what is probably the last thing somebody saw before he died. It’s eerie, elegiac, even monumental in its simplicity.
On one of these visits, I heard a young couple walk by and sneer loudly about how ridiculous it was that somebody had taken a photo of power lines and called it art. It struck me hard. It felt like they were not only dismissing the art, but the whole life and untimely, violent death of Brian Christopher Smith, whoever he may have been. It was crass, even cruel. All it took to understand this piece on its most cursory level was to read the title.
Andrew Wyeth, Roaring Reef, 1951. Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Kiki Smith, Snow Blind, 1997. Bronze with silver and palladium leaf.
Arman - Colère de Paganini (2004) - Burned violin and bow, polyester resin in Plexiglas box
Just wrote an object description for an Arman piece at the MHC art museum the other day!
One of my favorite works in the Contemporary Jewish Museum/SFMOMA exhibit, “Beyond Belief: 100 Years of the Spiritual in Modern Art” was Kiki Smith’s Lilith. It sticks out, literally and figuratively, because of its unconventional display. Lilith is part wall piece, part free standing sculpture…the only catch is she stands on a wall defying gravity. There is a sense of power, strength and sturdiness to the piece because of Lilith’s angular, crouched pose.
When I circled back around to take one last look at Lilith before leaving, I noticed a new feature of the sculpture. Since she is perched on a wall at eye-level, the viewer can walk around to see her entire body. This second look made me realize Lilith was looking back. Her face is inlaid with very life-like looking glass eyes. They’re a little unnerving, a little off-putting. Lilith still commands my attention, just now in a mix of admiration and repulsion all in one. All that with just her eyes…now that’s power.
WOLFGANG LAIB’S POLLEN FROM HAZELNUT
(Wolfgang Laib sifting hazelnut pollen, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1992.)
In early 2013 (MoMA January 23–March 11, 2013), Wolfgang Laib’s Pollen from Hazelnut will inhabit the Museum’s Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium, infusing the space with a yellow luminosity. Laib perceives the Marron Atrium as the Museum’s inner sanctum, its womb, and has created this work especially for the site. It will be the artist’s largest pollen installation to date, measuring approximately 18 x 21 feet. The hazelnut pollen that will be used in MoMA’s installation has been collected by Laib from the natural environment around his home and studio, in a small village in southern Germany, since the mid-1990s.
John von Bergen - The Anti-Precious Moment, 2001
An Installation of 30,000 Books by Tadashi Kawamata
In honor of African American History Month, Kara Walker! She uses the traditional, genteel ladies’ craft of cutting silhouettes to create a blistering commentary on racism in America, past and present. It is as beautiful as it is shocking.
Top left: Cut, exhibited at Wooster Gardens, Fall 1998
Top right: Slavery! Slavery! Presenting a GRAND and LIFELIKE Panoramic Journey into Picturesque Southern Slavery or “Life at ‘Ol’ Virginny’s Hole’ (sketches from Plantation Life)” See the Peculiar Institution as never before! All cut from black paper by the able hand of Kara Elizabeth Walker, an Emancipated Negress and leader in her Cause, (1997); cut paper and adhesive on wall 12 x 85 ft. (3.7 x 25.9 m) overall. Collections of Peter Norton and Eileen Harris Norton, Santa Monica, California. (Courtesy Walker Art Center)
Center left: Scene from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), 2005. Portfolio of 15 offset lithographs with silkscreen. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (link here)
Center middle: Picture of the artist
Center right: Keys to the Coop, 1997. Linocut on white wove paper; 117.5 x 153.8 cm (461⁄4 x 601⁄2 in.). The Art Institute of Chicago (link here).
Bottom left: From After the Deluge, exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2006 (link here)
Bottom right: Scene #18, from Emancipation Approximation, 2000. Silkscreen, 44 x 34 in. (111.8 x 86.4 cm)
Jenny Holzer (1950- ), American installation artist. Clockwise from top left:
You Are My Own, 1996. Projection. Unable to determine location of installation at the present time, but when I know, you’ll know!
Untitled (Selections from Truisms, Inflammatory Essays, The Living Series, The Survival Series, Under a Rock, Laments, and Child Text), 1989. L.E.D. electronic-display signboard. Installation at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Protect Me From What I Want, from the Mixed Messages series, 1987, Showplace Square, San Francisco.
Projections, selections from the poems of Wisława Szymborska, 2008, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
I Cannot Stand It, from the PROTECT PROTECT exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 2009.