Sunday, January 31, 2010

Jan 29, 2010: Opening Reception of Harry Roseman's Hole in the Wall at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar

Harry Roseman gave a talk on Friday evening at Vassar on the occasion of the official opening of his installation, Hole in the Wall in the atrium of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at the college.
Roseman's talk, along with a screening of a video documenting his Woven Walls installation at the Kleinert Art Center in Woodstock in 2008 preceeded the opening.  The main lecture hall was filled to capacity, so a second hall was enlisted, offering a projection of a live online stream of the talk. 

Unfortunately, the webstream had some form of buffering issue and we weren't able to see the entire talk.  A recording of the talk is available for viewing here.
The upside to this technical glitch was that those of us in the second hall were able to go in and view the work before the crush of people filled the space...and fill the space they did.  It got claustrophobic quickly, so I bailed out prior to the performance by Adrienne Elisha of a composition she created which was inspired by the installation. 

It had been too long since I last visited the Loeb.  There's really no better place in the area in which to casually stop in and indulge in morsels sized portions of great work.  The small size of the temporary exhibition and permanent collection galleries offer a remarkable opportunity to get a fix without needing to devote a great chunk of time. 

Anthony Easton's pilgrimage to Poughkeepsie - and kork

kork's current offering is a collection of snapshots by Toronto based artist Anthony Easton (his blog).  I met up with Anthony and his friend Pat at Dia Beacon on Jan 17.  The two had conceived a multitasking road trip, the first portion of which focused on visiting religious pilgrimage sites in upstate NY, like the Sacred Grove in Palmyra where Joseph Smith received the revelation that gave form to the Book of Mormon and the Mormon church.  The trip culminated in the installation of Anthony's work on the kork board in Poughkeepsie.

Anthony Easton placing photographs on the board of kork.

Anthony's project on kork consists of the photographic documentation of his vacation/research trip in upstate NY. 
In his statement, Anthony cites the recognizeable experience of suffering through a viewing someone else's vacation photos.  This curse of living vicariously through representations of other's experiences has only been magnified through proliferating technology and the annointment of all as producers of content, banal though that content may be. Anthony invokes the traditional banality of this form of vacation documentation, and gives it the pride of place that any individual gives to the relics of their fondly held memories.  These photos are the very same vestiges of leisure time that find their way into office cubicles on on to desks as rememberences of places visited and things during those non-work times spent away from the workplace.  They're emblems of experience and of the personal flown as flags of home in the pseudo home of the office. 

My contact with Anthony had been limited to short email exchanges until we rendezvoused at Dia the day before installation.
His endeavor of vacation as form of pilgrimage strikes a chord with one of the underlying tenets of kork:  how do we experience art?  Can a bulletin board in an accounting office become a cultural destination?  For me, the nature of pilgrimage and primary experiences plays a role in the broader implication of this work in this office in Poughkeepsie.  Would someone venture to POK to view the expression of an artist on a bulletin board in an office? Does the percieved value of such a site warrant such a trip? Is it sufficient to simply experience it remotely?  Is it enough to know that something is going on somewhere, and get the gist of it rather than making the effort of getting there?  Maybe, and yes - sometimes no.  Folks are more than welcome to stop into the office and check out the artworks.  They are equally welcome to feel satisfied that what they see online gives them some form of full experience.
The kork project as a whole partially rests on the calculation of reward divided by effort exerted - both in the creation of the works and the viewing of them. In this case the artist tested that calculation for himself.  
I'll admit to some anxiety when Anthony contacted me last year, interested in creating a project, and willing to travel to POK from Canada, and making that travel part of the piece.  I felt, but restrained, the need to inform him fully of the informality of the project and  he might not want to knock himself out over it.  But his coming is the realization of the kind of primacy of the primary experience that is self rewarding and not dependent on a climax resolution for validation.  I respect that attitude.  I know I'm projecting here, but I read it as an imperviousness to futility. It's a key to living, and making art; to dig a hole, not to retrieve something, nor to deposit something, and if something is found, to feel free to leave it in place, then fill in the hole once again and take something away from the whole endeavor.

This array of office implements and corresponding newsclippings is the most naturally sculptural and consistently enjoyable vision I behold whenever visiting the office of Bailey Browne CPA & Assoc.