Magazine article Artforum International

Erika Vogt

Magazine article Artforum International

Erika Vogt

Article excerpt

1 IMAGE LOVERS ANONYMOUS The value, meaning, and utility of images are now being hotly contested by artists as never before. But how freeing, ultimately, is this debate? Should we instead be looking forward, to the liberations that await? Consider these questions in the wake of the 2008 presidential election. When the image of "promise," so deeply embedded in the country's mythology, actually delivered, the relationship between reality and our perceptions shifted.

2 "THE LAST WILDNESS OF 2008," SILVER PLATTER, LOS ANGELES Wildness is a weekly performance event and party organized by artists Daniel Pineda, Ashland Mines, and Wu Ingrid Tsang. The final installment last season, staged in collaboration with the nonprofit ART 2102, was titled "The Last Wildness of 2008" and featured Flawless Sabrina and Zackary Drucker offering wisdom for 2009 and beyond. Sabrina, standing on a bar-top stage, began by telling the mostly queer and trans crowd a telepathic joke, and then asked, "Did you get it?" She continued, "If you feel confident, there's something wrong with you--because it means you've been advertised to! Be yourself. Be courageous. Be outspoken." Meanwhile Drucker, clad only in undergarments, slithered her way along the bar.

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3 "ALCHEMICAL DREAMS: THE SHORT FILMS OF HARRY SMITH," REDCAT, LOS ANGELES Harry Smith is a hero. His work, ranging from his collaged and hand-painted "Early Abstractions," 1946-57 to the diaristic Late Superimpositions, 1964, exhibits incredible diversity. A favorite is Untitled Animation of Seminole Patchwork, 1965-66, which Smith made by assembling images of the fronts and backs of the quilts he collected. Rani Singh, director of the Harry Smith Archives and curator of this 2007 survey at REDCAT, described in a talk how the filmmaker would bring all of his work to the Anthology Film Archives in New York because he knew it would be safe there. For that we should be thankful.

4 "REVERENCE: THE FILMS OF OWEN LAND," THE EGYPTIAN THEATRE, LOS ANGELES Following a screening of Owen Land's work at the Egyptian Theatre (a touring series organized here by Los Angeles Filmforum), the filmmaker, in his first public appearance in LA in fifteen years, participated in an esoteric question-and-answer session for a packed room. He spoke playfully--and often evasively--about a range of subjects important to his own practice and to his medium's history, including minimalist film, language, religion, Eastern philosophy, and his experience with the avant-garde film community of the 1960s and '70s. Land's disappearing act--he has not finished a film since the early '80s--raises unsettling questions about the artistic black hole that appeared two decades ago after funding dried up.

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5 ART IN ARTISTS' HOMES In the spirit of making something from nothing--and of generating more community and less profit--greater numbers of artists have lately been showcasing work in nontraditional gallery spaces, including artists' homes. This past August, Eve Fowler and Lucas Michael conceived Artist Curated Projects, which, with its proud mandate to curate shows both by and for artists, holds monthly exhibitions in the kitchen and living room of Fowler's West Hollywood apartment. Adopting a similar DIY ethos, Eli Langer's Sundays Gallery, located in a Hollywood office building, is used as an ad hoc living space and has a painting by Michael Rashkow embedded face-first in the kitchen wall. …

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