AVANT.org presented “Sonic Research” a day of Panels and Performances on Experimental Sound

C. Lavender performance. All photos provided by AVANT.org; Photo Credit: Sascha Pohflepp

C. Lavender performance. All photos provided by AVANT.org; Photo Credit: Sascha Pohflepp

See this published on SciArt in America June 25, 2015

The fusion of science into art happens organically through music—as music began to integrate newer technologies into its production methods, the genre of electronic sound was born. The connection between sound and body has been a fascination of sound artists since the 1960s—think of sound pioneers like John Cage and Terry Riley for a point of departure in sound arts’ meticulous history. Sound has never been about listening only; it should also be experienced in the flesh because acoustics are meant to affect the body not only aurally, but physically as well.

To find new places to see and experience experimental sound performances requires finding organizations that cater to this boutique niche. AVANT.org is a great place to start if you are interested in learning about and listening to contemporary sonic art practices. Their recurring series “Sonic Research” is both didactic and experiential because it couples emerging sonic art with contemporary acoustic research.

Their most resent program titled “Psychoacoustics Session I” featured curated installations, artist talks, panel discussions and performances meant to present diverse perspectives and new research into the maturing field of psychoacoustics. This session went beyond thinking of sound as framing a material space and instead employed psychoacoustics as a new paradigm for understanding sonic art as a physical effect on both the body and the art.

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An Autobiography of Love: James Lee Byars at MoMA PS1

“The Chair for the Philosophy of Question” (1990), with an antique Tibetan chair, in “James Lee Byars: ½ an Autobiography,” at MoMA PS!

“The Chair for the Philosophy of Question” (1990), with an antique Tibetan chair, in “James Lee Byars: ½ an Autobiography,” at MoMA PS1

See this review published on Bushwick Daily

As the story goes, there are a million different ways to say I Love You. For 20th Century conceptual-performance artist James Lee Byars, it was never about saying the words. “James Lee Byars: 1/2 an Autobiography” at MoMA PS1 chronicles this artist’s lifelong career as an artist who transformed his life into an artful series of eventful acts. He played the role of artist-as-shaman throughout his life as he sought to expound on philosophical concepts of perfection, truth, beauty, and love. He intertwined his art into his life and at moments the difference is immutable—which is exactly the point. As Byars dressed daily in monochrome suits of black, white, pink or gold, the world was his stage as he theatrically transformed the mundane into the extraordinary through his visual and performance art.

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Mike Kelley phantasmagoria at MoMA PS1

Mike Kelley. Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites. 1991/1999. Plush toys sewn over wood and wire frames with styrofoam packing material, nylon rope, pulleys, steel hardware and hanging plates, fiberglass, car paint, and disinfectant.

Mike Kelley. Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites. 1991/1999. Plush toys sewn over wood and wire frames with styrofoam packing material, nylon rope, pulleys, steel hardware and hanging plates, fiberglass, car paint, and disinfectant.

See this review on Metro.us published November 27, 2013

Mike Kelley puts the extraordinary into the ordinary at MoMA PS 1

MoMA PS1’s “Mike Kelley retrospective — the largest-ever exhibition of the eclectic and influential artist’s work — is like plunging down the rabbit hole to an uncanny world. It occupies the entire museum and brings together more than 200 works representing Kelley’s entire career from the 1970s through 2012, the year of his untimely death.

At once familiar and strange, Kelley pushes conventions to their breaking points. His dark humor speaks for the underbelly of society, exploring themes of class, pop culture, childhood, repressed memories and contradictions within power structures. 

The art on view is expansive, including drawing, printmaking, painting, assemblage, sculpture, photography, film, sound and performance. Kelley’s expertise comes when he combines multiple media into installations that immerse viewers into phantasmagoric worlds.

Visiting “Mike Kelley” is an immersive experience. At times humorous, perverse and bizarre —yet ultimately relatable — Kelley’s sardonically critical art always keeps you guessing. Here’s a guide to the exhibition’s highlights:

· “Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites” (1991/1999) is a must-see installation of plush toys sewn into motley, kaleidoscopic cloud formations descending from the museum’s ceiling.

· “Wayne, MI (US), 1954 – South Pasadena, CA (US), 2012 Switching Marys” (2004–2005) is the exhibit’s most immersive installation. Inspired by the New Age faith in repressed memory of traumatic abuse, Kelley filmed creepy, not-quite-right re-creations of dated high-school yearbook photos, which are projected amid sculptures assembled from props used in the videos and simulacrum photographs of the actors alongside the yearbook originals.

· “Kandor Project” (1999-2011) is a series of sculptures, illustrations and projections named for the fictional birthplace of Superman — which, in comic-book lore, was shrunken and preserved under glass. The pseudoscientific “Kandor” installation weaves together Kelley’s glowing sculptures — cast in colored resin and encased in containers or set on faux-rock pedestals —with oversized video projections of Kandors-in-action, in which encased minerals whirl about their glass vitrines like so many dreamlike snow globes.

This immense retrospective affirms Kelley’s status as an artist with a passionate project of social critique and self-criticism.

If you go:

“Mike Kelley”

Through Feb. 2, 2014

Thursdays–Mondays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

MoMA PS1,

22-25 Jackson Avenue, Long Island City

General admission $10,

718-784-2084www.momaps1.org

Mike Kelley Gif

Art as Experience in the millennial age : #GIF nation with Mike Kelley and threeASFOUR

he is so excited... for Mike Kelley @ MoMA PS1

he is so excited… for Mike Kelley @ MoMA PS1

“Art is thus a way of having the substantial cake of reason while also enjoying the sensuous pleasure of eating it.” 

John Dewey, “Art as Experience”, (269)

John Dewey was a man before his time. “Art as Experience” was published in 1934, when photography and the moving pictures so diversified artistic expression.

Today, technological advancements and an growing intersection between art and science is again redefining our own experiences with the expanding art arena. In New York City right now, installation art is a fulfilling way to experience art on a deeper level because its participatory nature affirms our own self existence.

Do not throw yourself into an existential crisis just yet; our millennial age is one of parody, humor, satire, and social media. What was once “deep contemplation of being” is now the instantaneous and immediately gratifying #selfie. Let us capture our experiences through the lens, let us fulfill our self-perpetuating prophecy and become a Gif Nation.

gifMill

MoMA PS1, Mike Kelley, “Deodorized Central Mass with Satellites”, 1991/1999.

MoMA PS1’s Mike Kelley retrospective is experiential to the core. Speaking of his early work Kelley said, “My entrance into the art world was through the counter-culture, where it was common practice to lift material from mass culture and ‘pervert’ it to reverse or alter its meaning… Mass culture is scrutinized to discover what is hidden, repressed, within it.”

His subversive art takes mass commodities and inverts their use value; we are surrounded by plushy stuffed animals appropriated into clouds. A stuffed animal in situ is a toy to be touched, loved, and with age, discarded. Kelley fetishizes the child’s play to objects of such immense value they no longer ages through rough house play, but are (literally) suspended in their glory, preserved in their superior state, abstracted to color field orbs, and transformed into a perverse object of immeasurable visual value. Like a glass menagerie on display, we may look, but we may not touch.

We may not embrace these plushy clouds, but we may preserve our experience photographically and capture this jovial state indefinitely.

“We are not sufficiently alive to feel the tang of sense nor yet to be moved by thought. We are oppressed by our surroundings or are callous to them. Acceptance of this sort of experience as normal is the chief cause of acceptance of the idea that art cancels separations that inhere in the structure of ordinary experience.” (271)

IMG_7246

The Jewish Museum, “MerKaBa”, threeASFOUR

The troupe threeASFOUR aims to encourage global harmony through fashion. Their exhibition MER KA BA at The Jewish Museum embraces many spiritual concepts: #Merkaba is a mystical form of Judaism; ka ba alludes to the Kaaba, one of the holiest sites in Islam and the focal point of the Mecca pilgrimage; Muraqaba is a Sufi meditation practice.

In ancient Egypt the hieroglyphs mer (rotating light), ka (spirit), and ba (body), placed together, describe the energy field through which the soul enters the body and ascends to higher planes. Merkaba  is a meditation of mental transcendence.

@threeASFOUR created a total installation to reinstate a mind/body connection. One may glide through the space, ending with a Mirror Temple of sorts, and be spiritually awakened through a synasthetic experience. Or, we may choose to dance and take #selfies to reinstate our own 21st century millennial autonomy. The choice is yours.

“In the end, works of art are the only media of complete and unhindered communication between man and man that can occur in a world full of gulfs and walls that limit community of experience.” (109)

Mike Kelley @ MoMA PS1

Mike Kelley @ MoMA PS1

New York City Fall Lineup: My top #art and #film exhibits of the season

Myself rocking out at a summer opening at Eyebeam, whose "PRISM Break Up" series makes my must see list.

Myself rocking out at a summer opening at Eyebeam, whose “PRISM Break Up” series makes my must see list.

“Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938” @ Museum of Modern Art

I remember when this retrospective was announced, Hyperallergic magazine dubbed Rene Magritte the “Artist Who Embodies Teenage Intellectual Angst”. This show will be a blockbuster, and will always be bursting at the seems with New Yorkers and tourists alike. But Alas! These trompe l’oeil paintings will not be missed!

September 28, 2013–January 12, 2014

Cost: Free Fridays 4:00 – 8:00 PM

“Robert Indiana: Beyond Love” @ the Whitney

An artist of the late 20th century, Indiana’s artwork addresses fundamental post-war issues through a Pop-inspired ironic lense. His use of typography, primary matte colors, and inspiration from information graphic design including highway and road signs transfigures everyday iconography into critical artworks.

September 26 – January 5, 2013

Mike Kelley @ MoMA PS1

I am not familiar with Mike Kelley, but I like what I see.

From MoMA PS1.com:

“Regarded as one of the most influential artists of our time, Mike Kelley (1954–2012) produced a body of deeply innovative work mining American popular culture and both modernist and alternative traditions—which he set in relation to relentless self- and social examinations, both dark and delirious.”

I love PS1, and any excuse to visit this serene museum is a trip in itself. Plus great art by a world-renowned artist? No more excuses.

October 13, 2013 – February 2, 2014

“PRISM Break Up” @ Eyebeam

The politics of Surveillance is a hot topic of our contemporary culture and has been for some time. Think of Michel Foucault’s philosophy on the Panopticon in “Discipline and Punish”, or George Orwell’s futuristic novel “1984”. Whomever we target as our “Big Brother” during this age of globalization through technology, bodies of authority grow with our cyberworld and continue to innovate new modes of surveillance. Eyebeam in Chelsea will host “PRISM Break Up”, a series of art and technology events dedicated to discussing Surveillance politics.

October 4 – October 6, 2013

Cost:  Free

The 51st New York Film Festival

 Contemporary films for contemporary minds.

My picks:

“At Berkley” : Director Frederick Wiseman looks at the University of California, Berkeley, from multiple angles in order to arrive at a rich portrait of a world renowned Institution of higher learning.

“Her” : Director Spike Jonze and stars Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson examine relationships in the 21st century. This sci-fi-esque love story between a man and his state of the art Operating System begs to question the politics of love during the internet age. As love continues to redefine itself through technology, will we exchange direct human contact for our instantly-fulfilling interactions with our hand held gadgets?

September 27 – October 13, 2013

Sergei Eisenstein @ Anthology Film Archives

I love going to Anthology. I love its location in the East Village. Its lack of concessions stand allows all focus to fall onto the films they show. For their “Essential Cinema” program Anthology will be showing a few Eisenstein classics, including “Battleship Potemkin”, “Strike”, “October”, “Old and New”, and “Ivan the Terrible: Parts 1 & 2”. I suggest his flagship “Battleship Potemkin” if you are not familiar with this early 20th Century Soviet Russian Direct. Be prepared for groundbreaking cinematography and propagandist themes in thrilling black and white 35 mm.

Mike Kelley @ MoMA PS1

Mike Kelley @ MoMA PS1

James Turrell “Aten Reign” at the Guggenheim closes soon, Find your Turrell fix at MoMA PS1

Honestly, who does not love James Turrell?

Honestly, who does not love James Turrell?

September 25, 2013 marks the final day of James Turrell’s blockbuster exhibition “Aten Reign” at the Guggenheim, NYC. This exhibit was one star in Turrell’s constellation over the summer, unofficially in conjunction with the exhibition “The Light Inside” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and a permanent installation inside a Las Vegas Louis Vuitton store. The Turrell mania will slowly subside and museums will move on with winter schedules. New Yorkers’ love and infatuation with Turrell will not be as abrupt and we can ease into remission by visiting MoMA PS1 where Turrell’s “Meeting” is on view.

One reaches an apex of sublime solidarity seeing James Turell’s “Meeting”, a site-specific permanent installation that captures the aesthetic beauty of the sky. Acting as a voyeur, lounging on reclining benches in a pyramid-temple shaped room, one stares idyllically into a square oculus towards the sky. I went on a particularly scenic day, where fluffy cumulus clouds slowly drifted through the cyan blue sky. It was calming, stoic even, to stare at something so obvious to our everyday lives, yet rarely contemplated. It is uncanny, we are subsumed by a feeling we have seen this image before, yet in front of our eyes now framed into a majestic square with each point facing a cardinal direction, we do not recognize it as that ominous, overly familiar presence in our lives, but as something autonomous and enchanting. With Turrell’s installation, his objectification of the sky reifies its existence into a fetished object of aesthetic beauty. It is disconnected from its earthly context and through its disjointed perspective, transformed into a piece of art.
A MUST SEE, and I look forward to continually returning to see how the installation changes with the coming seasons.

My MoMA Mania: A Museum Pilgrimage from Manhattan to Queens.

A Claes Oldenburg & Le Corbusier takeover on MoMA’s Sixth Floor… and don’t forget Olafur Eliason, James Turrell and the Expo 1 Action at PS1

New York City, July, 2013. It’s hot, it’s sunny, and it’s for the most part unbearable. What better time then to plan a magnificent Museum escapade than a hot, sweaty, scorching, beaming with blazing sun and overbearing subway tunnels sort of day.

I began at MoMA Proper, and went strait to the Special Exhibitions Halls on the Sixth Floor where Claes Oldenburg and Le Corbusier are having separate retrospectives. I’ll begin with Claes Oldenburg, a fun-filled, fantastical, very 1960s sculptor of plushy “commodities”. From vitrines filled with delectable treats, to over sized suit jackets and store-window displays, he uses commercial materials ranging from organic, loopy paper construction to solid yet bulbous painted plaster and metal creations to exaggerate the everyday into a realm of absurdity. As if one was walking into an Antonin Artaud DIY theatrical production, MoMA’s presentation of Oldernburg’s “Store” along with other sculptures of this time very much uphold the ulterior mode of the 1960-70s Zeitgeist: not all art was so overtly militant, propagandist and critical of the volatile decade, but instead, Oldenburg’s plushy commodities more interestingly beat down the evil of Capitalism and its subsequent power structure through appropriation, beating the evil superstructure at its own game by transforming mass production, the golden child of modern economics, into absurd parodies consumed by individualism, autonomy and a Walter Benjamin-esque aura.

From Oldenburg’s Phantasmagoria, one then enters the barracks of Le Corbusier’s attempted Total World Domination, a plethora or drafts, models, writings, paintings, drawings, sketches, etc. that spanned the architect/painter/innovator ‘s lifetime. Exhilarating? Of course. Overwhelming? Yes. We are bombarded with a world of a prolific artist par excellence, a man consumed by a dualism between spiritualism and innovation: an Enlightenment ethos of Technological progress paired with a moral concern for nature. But at the same, and a seemingly contradictory pairing at that, he fought for a progress that upheld nature, and even ameliorated the sublime’s lost frontier that fell victim to the modern industrial city. To be one and the same, a Modern Industrialist and an Ecologist of sorts, to preserve and build highly complex buildings to emphasize and enhance the natural topography of its context, Le Corbusier stands as a great visualization of Theodore Adorno‘s conception of Negative Dialectics; what is progress without regression towards its origins? Le Corbusier annihilates the opposition between Nature and City in order to make a third term apparent, i.e., his style, a kind of spiritual architecture that worked to build space from and within the spaces of nature. For nature isn’t to be used or forgotten, but rather to be borrowed and transformed, a sort of Utopian contemporary niche between the city and the world surrounding it.

And now, just three quick stops off the E train (I know, so close), and I arrive in Long Island City, Queens, a remarkable vast difference from the hustle, bustle and anxiety of the Times Square arena MoMA resides. PS1 is a wonderful journey in itself, where viewers navigate beige hallways with wood floors ala studio buildings one finds in the vast warehouses of Bushwick. It’s quiet here, calming, and us New Yorkers should travel in droves to this oasis.

Now, technically, Eliason and Turrell are not participants of the Expo 1: New York exhibition, but, they do very much integrate into the shows ecological concerns in response to the industrial demands of the 21st century. What better way to find sanctuary from 90 degree heat, honestly, than to dip into Olafur Eliason’s “Your Waste of Time“, a great contemporary reflection on entropy and the laws of thermodynamics very attune to the scientific ethos of Robert Smithson. If you have read Smithson’s writings, you know what I’m talking about, an obsession of entropy, a way of interpreting the world as an Adorno constellation rather than one network of two-way tunnels. Crash course: entropy is the law to which even systems of disorder evolve to thermodynamic equilibrium, which is what we see in Eliason’s site-specific room. The icebergs are kept in tact by cooling the gallery space below freezing. The power to freeze the icebergs is generated by the sun through solar panels installed on the museum’s roof. Here’s the entropy: the Sun’s rays and global warming is the actual cause of icebergs melting around the world; however, in this installation, the Sun is actually the means for the perpetual existence of the icebergs. The same exact cause of one’s death is actually the means of existence for another’s life. Through technological innovation, equilibrium is possible.

Olafur Eliason @ MoMA PS1. Now this is a way to beat the heat!

Olafur Eliason @ MoMA PS1. Now this is a way to beat the heat!

Amidst the hustle and bustle of activist art protesting our debased ecological frontier post Late Capitalist economic expansion, one reaches an apex of sublime solidarity: James Turell’s “Meeting”, a site-specific permanent installation that captures the aesthetic beauty of the sky. Acting as a voyeur, lounging on reclining benches in a pyramid-temple shaped room, one stares idyllically into a square oculus towards the sky. I went on a particularly scenic day, where fluffy cumulus clouds slowly drifted through the cyan blue sky. It was calming, stoic even, to stare at something so obvious to our everyday lives, yet rarely contemplated. With Turrell’s installation, his objectification of “sky” reifies its existence into a fetished object of aesthetic beauty, something similar to a painting of clouds yet not as surreal. It is uncanny, we are subsumed by a feeling we have seen this image before, yet in front of our eyes now framed into a majestic square with each point facing a cardinal direction, we do not recognize it as that ominous, overly familiar presence in our lives, but as something autonomous and enchanting because it is disconnected from its context as “atmosphere” and through its disjointed perspective, is instead transformed into a piece of art.

Honestly, who does not love James Turrell?

Honestly, who does not love James Turrell?

Featured in Expo 1 is a piece by Mark Dion: a haunting bricolage of death featuring taxedermied animals bathed in tar, hanging from a tree limb planted inside a bucket. This resonates with the ecological ethos of Expo 1 by presenting not just rodents, the detritus of city life, but also household animals including a dog and cat, all suspended from ropes like martyrs, as if they sacrificed their lives for the sins of humanity.

Nothing beats the mixture of taxidermy and tar in Mark Dion's work.

Nothing beats the mixture of taxidermy and tar in Mark Dion’s work.

What was my ultimate understanding of MoMA’s immense survey of art? From the 1960s to the present day, from the rise of Industrialism and economic expansion to the global domination of Capitalism and its subsequent disavowal of nature, Art is and should always be concerned with its present context. How it should present itself, how it should objectify itself through contextual concerns, is a different story, as one will see when experiencing the diversity of artworks throughout MoMA’s halls.