I'm extremely interested in artificial languages of all sorts, whether computer, human, visual, symbolic, or what have you.
The "Gray" show emphasizes a single, architectural line. In the context of a drawing class, it is the reduction of a drawing to the absolute minimum - namely a single line. However, they are clearly not drawings, as they are not marks on a surface. The surface itself is devoid of any mark whatsoever.
The line itself is usually singular in each painting. While each piece has more than one "side", clearly a single line is the emphasis of almost all of them, whether a slightly off diagonal or a gigantic arc with a radius of curvature of some forty feet (while being no more than eight feet long itself).
For me, these pieces raise the question "What is a drawing?" Line is definitely a key characteristic. These pieces demonstrate that line is necessary, but not sufficient, for a drawing.
These, however, are definitely paintings. Their creation on stretched canvas makes that clear, but the ground does not seem to be a sufficient requirement either. After all, one can draw on any surface. And one can paint on any surface as well. Nor is the tool used (e.g., pen vs. brush) sufficient, as some of the "pens" used in class would be termed a "brush" by someone unfamiliar with their calligraphic usage.
I'd have to say I don't yet have a satisfactory personal definition of "drawing." And the pornographic "I know it when I see it" is entirely unsatisfying.
These two pieces each consist of a small number of books encased in a close-fitting plexiglass box. Coming on the heels of Ellsworth Kelly's non-drawings, they struck me as simultaneously amusing and provoking. Clearly neither painting nor drawing, they straddle a region between concept, sculpture, and tchotchke. Is an art piece a discussion point? An idea? A "unique" creation?
The first is three paperback copies of Stephen King's The Shining. Each copy appears to be an identical edition, though each copy has varying amounts of wear. The repetition, combined with the facile reproduction of the piece (one could recreate it from what little description I've provided), pulls in the hoary chestnut that lowers the price of fine art prints: which one is the "original?" In the context of our class, this intersects nicely with the collage-oriented esthetic with which we have been working. Layers of drawings become one semi-abstract drawing, one Futurist snapshot of several moments. Which one is the "original?" It is a question that makes about as much sense as asking which copy of The Shining is the artwork.
The second, "larger" piece consists of five books:
Crime, sexual transgression, reactionary "correction", to transgression to diplomacy. Is it a loop or a line? Can we please beat that dead horse a little more?
The piece on display was a print, a lithograph, of a typically Winters image, some sort of seed or breadfruit or somesuch. Drawn with an obsessive, repetitive stroke, it displays an abundance of line and mark. Yayoi Kusama is the quintessential female artist obsessed (to a clinical level) with cocks, Winters is male equivalent for the for the womb.
The focus of the Gagosian Gallery at this time is a collection of video works and installations by various artists, collectively titled Monitor: Volume 1. A select few pieces are described below. Notably, the show is supported by Panasonic (which especially amuses me as I used to work for Sony).
Also, the entire series of video installations was written up in the Village Voice on July 25th. Unsurprisingly, the Voice swung between its usual caustic reviewing style and an almost insipid, fawning admiration for the work. Perhaps I've been to too many computer graphics shows, or maybe the Bill Viola show at the Whitney a couple years back was just too good, but this show was underwhelming.
Psi GIRLS is an interesting video installation of five clips from five different films involving either psionic or magic girls. Clips involving psionic (mental) abilities came from Carrie, Firestarter, and a third film I was unfortunately unable to place. The other two films involved magic girls (i.e., witches) and were The Craft and Mathilda.
As a technologist, an artist, a sci-fi/fantasy fan, and a movie buff, I found myself torn between several different takes on the piece. Some of these included the following:
A piece called Penthouse consisted of a DVD loop of a walkthrough of a virtual environment. As near as I could tell (as a sometime researcher in computer graphics), the walkthrough was created using the engine from the game "Quake" (something more usually used to turn your fellow human beings into flying chunks of gore affectionately known as "gibs").
Here, my own technical expertise probably got in the way (again) as I found myself dissecting the piece structurally, isolating texture maps, artifacts of the game engine, poor camera control, and the like.
While not normally thought of as an art gallery :-), I visited this museum with my young daughter (now five years old) immediately after visiting several art galleries, and so my mind was analysing weapons of war in the context of drawing, line, esthetics, symbolism, and the nature of art. Some quick thoughts: