Decter, Joshua, Artforum International
PAT HEARN GALLERY
How is taste made and unmade? Renee Green addressed this question in her most recent project Taste Venue, 1994, by seeking to don multiple hats--cultural anthropologist, gallerist, social historian, esthetician, booking agent, curator, and cultural critic--in order to remind us once again that Eurocentric cultural values cannot claim universal validity. Green has long been preoccupie with exploring why the fundamental ethnic, racial, and ideological hybridity of our culture is still not widely acknowledged or understood, and with addressing how distinct, and occasionally antagonistic, cultural languages and experiences inform one another. In an effort to examine these issues in a new way, Green used this occasion to create conditions in which cultural intersections and interactions could become more than merely symbolic. She placed an advertisemen in the "party section" of The Village Voice classifieds offering the gallery as a rental space for entertainment-oriented events. Acting as a booking agent wit assistance from her musician brother Derrick (who appears with his band in a video shot by Green), she sought to induce people from different cultural arena to plug into the "hip"--now user-friendly--milieu of a gallery. The results of this experiment were rather telling: with the exception of a Sylvia Heisel fashion show and hip-hop clothing-line shoot, only members of the art community took immediate advantage of the relatively low rental fees to stage their own miniexhibitions. So much for crossover.
To a certain extent, the show functioned as a framing device for these events. In the gallery's front corridor, hung a series of Plexiglas signs, each offerin what the press release identified as "department headings"--i.e., hip phrases from current magazines ("special news," "buzz," "A-List," etc.). Further on, th main gallery room was filled with ephemera including a series of almost elegant black and white photographs of different places visited and/or lived in by the artist; a little metal shack (described as a time capsule) that contained various materials accumulated by Green; a reflective, iridescent disco-style sign that read "venue"; and strips of yellow tape inscribed with the phrase "space variable/variable space" framing sections of the otherwise blank gallery wall. …