March 19, 2012

New Museum Triennial: "The Ungovernables"

Exhibition website here; a very helpful NYT review here, with a slide show with some beautiful photos; my own photos here; and Art Fag City has a good slide show here.

Among the pieces I found exciting was a video by Wu Tsang, The Shape of a Right Statement (2008; still, right, from Clifton Benevento gallery). In it, Tsang re-speaks a text I found fascinating, from the second part of a video manifesto by autisim rights activist Amanda Baggs, embedded below. Thoughout the 5 min. run of Tsang's piece, he does not blink, a feat which, for me, greatly heightened the intensity of the work.

I saw this piece before encountering Tsang's other work, including Wildness in the Whitney Biennial. Various commentators have expressed concern w.r.t. many contemporary works that one needs a lot of info extraneous to the work itself in order to begin to appreciate it. While Tsang's work draws heavily from its sources and context, for me, it's a great example of a piece that was sufficiently arresting in its own right to make me go look for that info; and I'm glad I did.

Another of my favorites was The Propeller Group's project, TVC Communism (2011), from which two pieces were shown. First was a video installation comprising synchronized video on 5 large screens arranged in an inward-facing circle. Each screen showed one individual in a meeting in which the Propeller team collaborated to develop p.r. to re-brand Communism. Unfortunately, viewers seemed to enjoy being the apparent center of the virtual attention of the Propeller team so much that, while I was there, the area within the 5-screen circle was full of chatting museum-goers, making it impossible to hear the the audio "conversation" among the characters in the videos. The second piece shown from the project was the resulting commercial ad.

It's hard to resist comparing the Triennial and the Whitney Biennial. Perhaps the main observation yielded for me so far is that there was more socially- or politically-engaged work at the New Museum. Given how much of the most exciting art made during recent years has had overtly political concerns, the relative paucity of the political at the Whitney seems striking.

Below is Amanda Baggs' manifesto:

No comments:

Post a Comment