Sunday, October 12, 2008

Staying within the lines

Two items in the NY Times today exhibit a form of restrained geography......(I don't know how else to phrase it).
First in the travel section, an item by Jane Margolies chronicles her recent visit to Dia:Beacon. At the end of the article she lists places to eat in Beacon. The featured eateries, Marlena's Kitchen, Jamaican Spice, Cup and Saucer Tea Room and Homespun, all on the West End clearly define that invisible borderline that marks the outer limit of many a Main St. visitor's trek into town. It's fascinating to see that delineation plotted out in words, leaving foresaken and undiscovered, any possible treasures to be found at the foot of that yonder mountain (or foothill as it would be considered in my present locale out West).

Secondly, in the "Connecticut" section of the Times, Ben Gennochio writes up an exhibit called Framing and Being Framed:The Uses of Documentary Photography at the Center for the Arts at Weslyan University. Given the item is in the "Connecticut" section and solely pertaining to one exhibit, I imagine that art venues in CT might relish the opportunity to step out of the shadow of their noisy neighbors, and enjoy a such a feature all to themselves. Gennochio's write up offers a straight forward plan in text form of the work in this singular exhibit, but the contour map of conceptual terrain, is quite different from its physical cousin. I think an opportunity was lost here in not alluding to a broader gestalt that can amplify the context for the Wesleyan exhibit and its focus as the current exhibit at The Hessel Museum at Bard - The Greenroom, also examines the use of the documentary motif and includes the work of two of the same artists: Matthew Buckingham and An-My Le. Context, after all, is an essential element in the purpose of the Documentary, both fictional and actual.
In the interest of full disclosure, I work on the exhibition crew at CCS/Hessel. I'm not shilling for the museum, just referencing the affinity between the two exhibits.

Framing and Being Framed:The Uses of Documentary Photography remains on view through December 7. A panel discussion related to the exhibit, Eye of History: The Camera as Witness will take place at the CFA on November 7 from 4:30-6:30 with a reception to follow. Panelists include: Wendy Ewald, Eric Gottesman, Susan Meiselas, David Levi Strauss. Admission is free.

The Greenroom: Reconsidering the Documentary and Contemporary Art at the Hessel Museum will be on view through Feb 1 and is part of a longer term project examining the documentary form in contemporary art. There is a full slate of exhibition related talks and performances through the run of the exhibit. The link above lists other curatorial and art related events in addition to the Greenroom events. Curatorial Scrutiny is a series of talks instituted by new CCS Graduate Program Director, Maria Lind, are open to the public and examine aspects of the curatorial process.
The next Curatorial Scrutiny talk takes place on Oct. 20, 1-3pm in the CCS Bard Seminar Room, and the topic is the role of documentation in the artworld with guest speaker, Berlin-based artist Natascha Sadr Haghighian and respondent, Marcia Acita, Assistant Director of the Hessel Museum. Each of these talks follows this speaker and respondent format. I'm not sure how that plays out. I just pray these talks will be available in podcast form (sooner than later) because they sound interesting, and the mid afternoon scheduling pretty much prohibits my attending.

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