Friday, September 30, 2011

Eye Candy Friday: Taking it off, Putting it on.

Artist Cheryl Donegan was at Dia:Beacon this weekend, giving the third of four artist walk throughs of Dia's portion of the Blinky Palermo show.

(Liliana Porter will be doing the fourth walk through on Oct 15. (Additionally on Oct 15, a bus excursion is planned for which visitors must reserve space.  The coach tour will leave NYC at 9a, head up to Bard for the CCS portion of the exhibit, then down to Dia:Beacon in time to catch the Liliana Porter presentation, then back down to NYC.  The coach tour package price includes a box lunch.  Ticket info can be found here.))

Anyway, back to the ECF onhand.  Donegan gave a thoughtful and informative talk, but one that was more "lecture-like" than we were expecting/hoping.  Peter Iannarelli mentioned that she could have handed out the prepared text of her talk.  This actually would have been good as there were some very good thoughts contained within it.  (I would like to see this practice adopted, particularly with memorable and recall-worthy talks.)  One thing she said that really stuck with me: Blinky's work "carries the signals of awareness without adopting an agenda."
That very idea sounds like an objective to strive for.  She also spoke about how Palermo's "To the People of New York" speaks perhaps not to the death of painting but the fatigue of painting.  That statement has also stayed suspended in my mind. 
During the Q&A that followed the talk, Angelika asked Donegan about how she as an artist related to Palermo's work - which was what I was hoping to hear more of; her personal responses to this other artist's work.  I was interested in hearing more about this as she has now been doing paintings for some time, having, as she said, discovered in painting what she wanted to explore (as opposed to making videos about painting).  That's not to say her personal ideals and vision didn't inform her talk.  It most certainly did.  It was just the talk was framed in a more impersonal manner.  She even started her talk by saying that Palermo's paintings embodied a lot of feeling for her, but she didn't think we as an audience were interested in her "feelings" about Palermo's paintings.
Cheryl Donegan gained attention in the '90s with her video and performance works that commented on the history of painting.  The video piece Head is probably her most well known, provocative and (for some, possibly me) arousing work.
Below is a video of a performance Donegan did at Andrea Rosen Gallery in 1992, in which she wrastles the autonomy of the human brush away from Yves Klein's hand and uses it for her own declaration.

Oddly, as I was perusing youtube for Donegan videos, I came across this surprising bit in which Cheryl Donegan poses as a model on a fashion segment on the Today Show. It was odd to see witness her give a talk at Dia:Beacon, then shortly after, find her in this other role. I was an avid watcher of the Today show when I was in 5th grade (in the Bryant Gumble, Jane Pauly days), but by late middle school, I had simply become too sophisticated for the show....or it had already begun it's slide toward inanity and sheer stupidness, which seems to have been it's niche for a couple of decades now. A nice surreal touch to this snippet is the headline scrawl at the bottom of the screen highlighting murder and stabbing stories while the ladies talk about grabbing cheap deals on cute outfits.
By the way, Brice Marden was taking in the Palermo show @ Dia:Beacon just before Cheryl Donegan's talk commenced. PPS: It does seem that the recorded audio from Dia's Gallery talks and presentations will at some point in the future make it's way on to the internet. It's something they're said to be working on.

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