Magazine article Artforum International

Jason Simon: Callicoon Fine Arts

Magazine article Artforum International

Jason Simon: Callicoon Fine Arts

Article excerpt

Jason Simon

CALLICOON FINE ARTS

In an age when the entire history of recorded music is just a click away, it's tempting to dismiss radio as a hopelessly antiquated medium. After all, why rely on a DJ when Spotify and iTunes allow you to compile your own playlists? Yet, as is often remarked, the self-curated online/ digital experience, for all its potential, can ultimately become isolating. Conventional radio at its best retains the power to establish and strengthen the bonds of community by making a virtue of broadcasters' idiosyncratic tastes and voices. And local radio can add to that a capacity to respond to specificities of place while also allowing for a shared experience within a given locale.

Jason Simon's recent exhibition "Request Lines Are Open" documented the resonance of one particular example of local radio, a show called Soul Spectrum on WJFF, a public station based in Jeffersonville, New York, close to the town in which this gallery started and from which it takes its name. In addition to playing music, the host, Liberty Green, reads dedications and letters by, from, and to local prison inmates and their friends and families. Simon, whose studio is also within WJFF's reach, juxtaposed photographs of the station and Green's house with a box of metal auto-body-repair dollies, twenty crates containing the DJ's archive of correspondence, and a vintage horn speaker--salvaged from behind the screen of the Callicoon Cinema--that plays Soul Spectrum broadcasts.

Also included in the exhibition, secreted in the gallery's darkened basement, was a Super 8 film, In and Around the Ohio Pen, 2014. An eleven-minute edit of quarter-century-old footage showing curator and writer Bill Horrigan wandering around a derelict Columbus jail, it also features the incongruously jaunty piano stylings of Horrigan's sometime collaborator, the filmmaker Chris Marker. …

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