Sunday, March 7, 2010

Armory week, day 4. Humble Arts, EFA Open Studios, & Scope.

Ok, I'll admit it. You didn't ask, but I'll tell you anyway: I'm getting a bit grumpy. I don't know if it's because of the Clockwork Orange-like deluge of art I've subjected myself to over the last few days, but I'm definitely feeling a bit snarky. Is it me? Always possible. Is it the art? Well, yes, that's always a possibility, too. There have been highs and lows (I love either extreme for the way they challenge me), but there have been way too many "nothings". No reaction. I get snarky when I see truck load after truck load of art that just leaves me without comment. So maybe it's time to take a breath. Take a pause. Let some of the metaphorical meal digest.

A quick overview of my Saturday:

Scope is a shadow of the fair it once was. It made me sad to walk through. The only ray of light was at Witzenhausen Gallery which was showing Jowhara Alsaud. Aperture Magazine recently featured her work and have released a photo of hers through their print program, so I'm not exactly Paul Revere on this one. Still I like the work. Ms Alsaud's work is also part of a group show at the Camera Club of New York. The revelation for me there was the "Representations" series by Cynthia Greig. Ms Greig whitewashes ordinary, everyday objects, then traces their outlines with marker. The end result is photographed. The end result is not what you would expect from my description and is both delightful and complex (a rare duo). Check out the show and definitely ask Stephen Bulger about her at the upcoming AIPAD show.

I always enjoy making my way through the open studio dates at Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts. I've written about my favorites in the past, so there's no need to revisit them here. Suffice it to say that you should add your name to their mailing list and check it out for yourself. Some great work has come out of that building.

Humble Arts produced a show called "31 Women in Photography" which is on display in the Affirmation Arts building on 37th St. The title is hard to argue with as there are indeed 31 female artists represented in the show. If there is any other trend, interpretation, curatorial position, or overview to be gleaned from the works chosen, it was lost on me. I have always found fault with Humble's choice to show only one example of any artist's work. It is a curatorial practice which shorts both the artist and the viewer. It's like reading the first-line index of a poetry anthology without access to the anthology. But I seem to be in the minority in this view as the organization has been wildly popular. I'm also surprised to see Charlotte Cotton's name connected with the show as I've always found her view of photography to be pithily grounded. I'm curious what her contribution was exactly.

But all of that adds up to the kind of snark that I mentioned in paragraph one, and I don't really want to be snarky. I wish success to any artistic endeavor even if their approach is not one that I would choose myself. So, I'll take a few days off, catch my breath, rest my feet, and come back with a fresh view of some of the other events happening around town in this art-filled month of March.

Tomorrow: a walk in the park.

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