Ben Jones is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York whose tantalizing work is featured in the Modern’s third FOCUS exhibition of the season. Jones, a member of the East Coast Art Collective, Paper Rad, has received recognition with an impressive exhibition, performance, and publication record for what is described in the press release for his solo exhibition The New Dark Age at Deitch Projects in New York as, “between-media video sculpture, light painting, and ‘drawing in the digital age’” that “explores new methods of pictorial storytelling...” As with the work in The New Dark Age, Jones tends to blow the viewer away with an onslaught of imagery, pattern, and color that replicate and play with the visual bombardment of the contemporary world. As the Deitch Projects press release aptly explains, “To the naked eye, The New Dark Age might be a blinding glimpse at the darkly comic heart of the ‘Internet generation gone wild.’” This Tuesday Evening presentation offers a special preview of what Jones has in-store for the Modern’s audience with the Museum’s final FOCUS exhibition which opens to the public Sunday, April 11, 2009.
Kenneth Goldsmith, a New York-based poet whose writing has been described as, “some of the most exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry” by Publishers Weekly, is founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb (ubu.com), and among other endeavors, is also the editor of I'll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews, which was the basis for the opera, “Trans-Warhol”, that premiered in Geneva in 2007. While the exhibition Andy Warhol: The Last Decade focuses on the artist’s paintings, Goldsmith’s Tuesday Evenings presentation, The Hyperlinked Warhol: The Artist as King of Media, highlights other activities that Warhol was involved in toward the end of his life, including forays into cable and network television, fashion modeling, advertising, and computer art. This lecture fleshes out the full spectrum of what it meant to be Andy Warhol at the end of his life. What emerges is a portrait of the artist as media visionary, one who, nearly three decades ago, accurately predicted our current infatuation with technology, celebrity, and social networking.
New York-based artist R. H. Quaytman and art historian Rhea Anastas recount the three-year run of Orchard, a Lower East Side gallery operated by a collective of artists, writers, and film and video makers in their presentation titled, May I Help You? A Short History of Orchard, 2005–2008 and a Spreadsheet. Quaytman and Anastas offer two perspectives on what happened when a strategic alliance of 12 artists was attempted, and when this diversity of artistic intentions, models, and values was made the basis of an exhibition, panel, and screening program. The project is discussed as one response to a complex period in art and culture in post-9/11 New York. In one of a series of articles on Orchard for the journal Grey Room, Branden W. Joseph wrote, “During that three-year period, the exhibitions, events, openings, screenings, discussions, and performances staged at the venue gradually became the locus and embodiment of a certain strain of critical artistic discourse. ...” While Quaytman and Anastas have successful, individual careers within their respective fields, this evenings presentation focuses on that “strain of critical artistic discourse” and the shared experience of Orchard.
Amy Blakemore has been described as an artist who “takes photographs in order to explore the ways in which memory both records and transforms visual information.” (Amy Blakemore: Photographs 1988–2008, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston) Blakemore, trained in the documentary tradition, is known for her small-scale photographs that suggest random snapshots while evoking something personal and poetic, something that puzzles and lingers. For Tuesday Evenings, she presents the unassuming and unforgettable photographs for which she has received much deserved recognition and critical acclaim.
Liam Gillick is an artist living and working in London and New York, and a lecturer at Columbia University, New York, as well as a writer and theorist. Gillick’s sculptures, installations, public projects, film scores, theoretical writing, design objects, and videos often center on social, economic, and political systems, and society's relationships and reactions to such structures. He has exhibited extensively worldwide, is closely associated with the relational aesthetics models of community, and was the artist presented at the German Pavilion during the 2009 Venice Biennale curated by Nicolaus Schafhausen. The selection of Gillick for the German Pavillion was carefully considered. Of his choice, Schafhausen wrote, “For me, as the curator it is important that Gillick understand art as a medium through which to observe contemporary life in its transformations and aporiae...” Gillick’s Tuesday Evenings presentation offers insight into his ideas and his diverse body of work that has contributed greatly to the discourse of the larger art world while encouraging intimate conversation and application among individual viewers, readers, and participants.
John Smith is a British filmmaker living and working in London, where he also teaches part-time as Professor of Fine Art at the University of London. Smith has received notoriety and praise for films that are strongly influenced by the Structural Materialist ideas that dominated British filmmaking during his formative years. Also fascinated by the immersive power of narrative and the spoken word, Smith has developed a body of work that deftly subverts the boundaries between documentary and fiction, representation and abstraction. Drawing on the raw material of everyday life, these meticulously crafted films rework and transform reality, playfully exploring and exposing the language of cinema. Described by Mark O’Pray of Art Monthly as, “One of the most talented filmmakers of the postwar generation,” Smith presents Real Fiction, a selection of his short films and presentation on the ideas that have shaped his art over the past four decades.
Peruvian-born artist Gabriel Acevedo Velarde recently embarked on a gradual move from Lima, Peru, to Mexico City to São Paolo, Brazil, and then to New York and Berlin. He uses experiences from his travels to inform his multimedia installations as featured in the Modern’s second FOCUS exhibition of 2010. Acevedo Velarde organizes his diverse artistic practice into projects that differ dramatically in terms of materials, technique, and presentation, but share an astute portrayal of the human condition, looking at the psychology of self-preservation within the precarious fragility of community and civilization. The artist touches on the driving force in his work with a description of one particular project, “The subject is a system that tries to keep standing despite its inner chaos, decadence, and most of all, its wild will for change.” For Tuesday Evenings, Acevedo Velarde discusses his methodology and the resulting performances, installations, films, and drawings that have been acknowledged for their elaborate preparation of seemingly simple forms that offer both humor and horror.
Joseph D. Ketner II is currently the Henry and Lois Foster Chair in Contemporary Art, Distinguished Curator-in-Residence, at Emerson College, a position that follows his post as the chief curator at the Milwaukee Art Museum where he organized Andy Warhol the Last Decade. As a preview to the exhibition's opening on February 14, Ketner shares insight and expertise on the subject in his presentation Who is Andy Warhol. He explains that, “Warhol is as misunderstood as he is famous. Over the course of his nearly 40-year career the mercurial, paradoxical artist transformed art and celebrity. Yet, it is interesting that his reputation is founded on only his six-year Pop art phase. Remarkably, the final decade of his career may have been his most productive.” For Tuesday Evenings, Ketner examines some of the little known aspects of Warhol’s personality that are revealed in his seldom seen last paintings.
Tony Scherman is a Canadian artist renowned for his encaustic paintings found in collections throughout North America and Europe. Erudite and passionate, Scherman brings a wealth of research and a tremendous facility for painting to his melancholic portraits that press hard into the space of the viewer. As Lilly Wei explains in the exhibition catalogue About 1865, “Scherman has an impulse to destabilize precedents, to seek transformations and to view ideologies with skepticism, to be conceptually vigilant. It is also evident that his point of view is compassionate and, perhaps most significantly, that he makes memorable paintings.” For Tuesday Evenings, Scherman concentrates on the past five years of his career.
William Lamson is a Brooklyn-based artist recognized for an inventive body of work that, as described on National Public Radio, uses “inexpensive materials and simple structures” to create “visuals that are mesmerizing and, in a word, playful.” Addressing issues of masculinity, amateurism, science, play, and the quixotic quest for personal heroism, Lamson speaks to the spirit of ingenuity in sculptures, photographs, and performances that broaden horizons and entertain the imagination. For Tuesday Evenings, Lamson presents what he describes as his “arduous endeavors that offer the perpetual hope of transcendence, however flawed the undertaking may be.”