F ing Good Art
Number Eight
June 15 2001

Archived at http://spaces.org/fga/

"You will know us in new guise by our word"


Frank Pollard at Dogmatic

Frank Pollard adds that special cult quality to his work, kind of like Dario Argento or Tool. With no hype or excessive promotion the show at Dogmatic is destined to be remembered and talked about in the lowest circles for years to come and that is a good thing. In any given Tool video the protagonist is some kind of animated alien-like mutant involved in some strange sexual act that leads to an improbable transformation. Not far from this, Frank Pollard has photographed miniature rooms (built by him) where some sort of humanoid has been witness to or perpetrator of a violent act. Sometimes a pool of blood or a wheelchair or an evil dentist can be encountered in these photos. This manimal, although fictional, makes the viewer uncomfortable. Painting the gallery floor itself to mimic that in the photos certainly does help, swirls of yellow and white can create a sensation of nausea, but its beautiful oddity is pleasant at the same time. In the dirt room are photographs of what seems to be the insides of a medieval fortress' one is a room equipped with surveillance material. It all coincides with Dogmatic's architectural design and the viewer should add up the narrative in accordance with Dogmatic's floor plan. If the viewer is a voyeur or witness, I can't tell, but I can assure you this show makes up for an aging Roman Polanski.

-- Pedro Velez

Dj Cam, Dzine, and Judy Ledgerwood at Gallery 312

Hamza Walker, in the beginning of his lengthy introduction to the panel discussion concerning "Search for Love," explains that he has little knowledge of "DJ culture," music or otherwise. A little later Judy Ledgerwood, one of the three artists responsible for the "Search For Love" project, blurts out that she doesn't know much about "DJ" or "club" culture either, but likes the fashion.

The focus of this project was world famous, Frenchy badass, Dj Cam. The collaboration began with a track ("song") produced by Dj Cam entitled "Search For Love." Whether he made it specifically for this event or if it was previously released material wasn't confirmed. Whichever it was, he sent it to Dzine who had asked him to be involved. From there, Dzine and Judy proceeded to develop a painting while in the atmosphere of or under the guidance of the music. The result is a catastrophy. There is a long history of visual artists working under the influence or music. From college dorms with smoke coming from under the door to studios with the tape player on. I'm sure books have been written on it. What is interesting here is direct interaction between the artists. The painting end of the collaboration was made in direct reaction to the song, attempting to envision its essence. The finished painting currently hangs in Gallery 312 and is somewhere in the neighborhood of forty feet long by fifteen feet high. So large in fact that they must have had to assemble it in the space. My only hope is that after the show they can somehow cut the beast to pieces and donate the carcass to some art students or something. You could probably get twenty or thirty good size canvasses out of it. I salute Guidance Recordings, Dzine, Joe Shanahan, and MM Projects for putting this show together. I only wished it could have been done a different way. I immediately think of how incredible "Exhibition Transition" was, while still way underground.

-- Adam Mikos, courtesy of Gravy Magazine, [http://gravymagazine.com/]

Dear Dog;

Have arrived safely in Fort Greene, Brooklyn after driving many hours in a Ryder truck through torrential rains, utter darkness and downtown Philadelphia, western Pennsylvania heralded a sight to call home: looming mountains. If I miss anything about Chicago, it won't be the flatness. Good so far: fresh tofu everywhere, Shirin Nishat's moody movies at Barbara Gladstone, biking past Steve Buscemi and son in Park Slope, Anthony Goicolea's uncanny multi-boy photographs at RARE. Bad or scary: drink prices, the mega art mall that is Chelsea, thick pollution, discovering that James Rosenquist is still making paintings, seeing Mary Boone in person for the first time. Visit soon - we have a futon in the living room.

-- Salut, Lori Waxman.

Law Office High Stakes Poker Game

High Stakes Poker was a performance/ charity event executed at midnight during the opening of Disco at Arena Gallery. Five players were chosen (or curated) by Law Office on the basis of need.The winner was awarded a thousand bucks, provided by the members of Law Office. It was a game within a game, the players playing for money and Law Office playing the players in a sort of contemporary tableau vivante. The best of all was the take on perception orchestrated by Law Office. By toning down the hype that surrounds any given Law Office event and avoiding any unnecessary contact with the poker game Law office transformed the image of a shameless promotional machine to a charitable foundation - a somewhat sleek provider of generosity. The whole event took no longer than 15 minutes. By compromising and doing the opposite of what the art scene wanted or expected (another beer tasting) Law Office has taken a step toward to uncharted territory, a move that deserves our admiration.

-- Pedro Velez

Mark Murphy at Standard

Entitled "Price Check," the work here refers to the experience of the walls of packaging one walks down when at the grocery store. There are two bodies of work with this in mind hung in the space. In the back gallery Murphy's paintings approach this with an abstract eye while his puzzles are more direct, using actual sides from the products boxes (one was from an Animal Crackers box). These little beauties measure around 5"x7" in size and are skillfully made. All the pieces fit exactly, but the image they make when assembled is scrambled. Nicely designed, while also understated.

In the front gallery the paintings were at the other end of the craftsmanship spectrum, looking very rounded and generic, having virtually no detail. Most of these were too bland for my taste, except for the TV dinner (loved the corn) and the Apple Jacks. The cereal was represented by green rings overlapping each other, which doesn't sound like much, but he somehow exactly captured the peculiar Apple Jacks green. The green that does not exist in nature but somehow represents Granny Smith apples. You could almost smell 'em too.

-- Adam Mikos, courtesy of Gravy Magazine, [http://gravymagazine.com/] and at Quimby^s.

Best of Art Chicago 2001

  1. Rod Steiger hanging around in a wheel chair and still looking menacing.
  2. Jim Lambie's cut record sleeves and Martin Boyce's modern ritualistic furniture at Modern Institute. The religious iconography of steel balls by Cedric Christie at Rocket's project space. A reversed L-shaped canvas full of colorful stripes by Amy Wheeler at Soshana Wayne. Homo - erotic violence by painter / sculptor Enrique Marty at Espacio Minimo. Jason Salavon revolving rooms at The Project. (although we've seen it a million times at Peter Miller, here, in the company of Paul Pfeiffer, instead of some horrible Julia Henferman painting, the whole things starts making sense.)
  3. The Haagen-Dazs ice cream bar.
  4. Law Office's management of Zing Magazine's booth (free beer, lounge area, and video service).
  5. Mexican Tequila at Vedanta

Worst of Art Chicago 2001

  1. The much anticipated talk by Chicago's leading alternative publications managed to move a shameful crowd of five people, not including family members or friends. Refresh your memory: Cakewalk, New Art Examiner, Ten by Ten, White Walls.
  2. A poor and pitiful selection of local galleries and artists.
  3. Hot dogs for 3 bucks and a can of Coke for 2.50, c'mon Tom, give me a break!

High on Fire

Last night at the Empty Bottle I saw one of the greatest stoner rock bands of all time! High on Fire, and while head banging to the most amazing layered guitar sounds I started to drift away. During this almost celestial trip I started thinking of Monique Meloche's Disco show during Art Chicago and how eerie is the parallel of Disco to the Glam rock excess bullshit that finally pulled the rug from underneath 80s Rock n' Roll. And I thought about the return of glitz in the shape of boy bands and Elizabeth Peyton. Now it's all too nice and slick or glossy and shallow. And while drifting away, looking at the shaky and dirty stage on which High on Fire took their stand I wondered about the importance of electric guitars and energy. Then I thought of curatorial endeavors and how funny it is having no description of the word 'curatorial' in my thesaurus. And I saw how comfortably the lead singer disposed of a loogie during the reprisal of Foot in Face. And I wished for curators with some sense of spontaneity. But curators cannot afford banalities such as this because they are busy acting politically correct by filling biennial quotas with Rikrit Tirivajnia, Kcho or Kara Walker. And I thought about art and truth because we are all trying to find truth or at least that moment of bliss that makes us go: "Oh, yea! You are so damn right Mr Judd." A long time ago I had one of those moments in the shape of Monet. It was all so clear and blue and purple. And it was all the same painting. And I wondered about the waterlilies and the significance of a motif and how the motif is just a means to bliss. As for Metal and Rock n' Roll, the means to achieve nirvana is through sex, drugs, and loud guitar solos. But in the current art thing the solos are missing, there are no double bass drums, no distortion, no raw energy and sadly, no mosh pit. There is no metaphorical sound, no punk attitude -- and don't give me the Thomas Hircshhorn schtick because as soon as you place one of those installations in an art institution it all becomes painfully tamed. I'm not talking either about Miguel Calderon's MTV aesthetics or the Ultra Baroque. I'm not talking about Wonderland, Let's Entertain or Mauricio Cattelan using the Pope as prop, that's all too easy. As easy as James Rondeau's Mayor Daley complex or Okwik Enzwor's packaged globalism. I'm talking about resonance, passion and drive -- not Helen Mirra's boring conceptual passion. I'm talking about raw energy and honesty, something you won't find at a disco ball or in a Dzine/ Ledgerwood collaboration that aspires for a higher breed of cool. And, please, don't get me wrong, I like a good Laura Owens painting whenever I see it but it doesn't mean it drives my intellect, because for my intellect to be exercised I need some action, some poking, some texture and depth. I'm talking of what Goya is to Slayer. I'm talking about Colectivo Cambalache's free trade zone, Dan Peterman's recycling center and Paul Druecke's denial of authorship through sociology. I'm talking about honesty man! Just give some fucking honesty, respect and intense amounts of High on Fire.

-- Pedro Velez

Painting at the Edge of the World: "Where Does the Edge of the Canvas End and the Edge of the World Begin?"

Conceptually leading the viewer into this examination of painting and literally providing a path to follow into the exhibition space is Francis Alys trail of dripped paint on the floor of the gallery. Appropriately titled The Leak could easily be mistaken for a horrible blunder by an inattentive member of the installation crew during the installation of the exhibition. Yet within the context of the completed exhibition the line of enamel on the floor becomes a curious entry into questions concerning the border between painting and the world.

In a grounding of Modernist aspirations, the work of Rudolf Stingel is represented by the silver monochromatic painting Untitled from 1998 and Instructions, a work from 1989. Instructions is a screenprint that provides detailed, step-by step information and photographs that illustrate how to make a painting like Untitled. While the radiant, reflective surface of Untitled may tempt one into considering the mystical or transcendental implications of monochromatic painting, the instructions abruptly call the viewer back to the banality of the everyday by detailing very carefully the process of how the painting is made.

Other highlights of the show are Laura Owen's large canvases, both Untitled from 2000, one of a thickly painted romantic moonscape, the other a more washy, casual depiction of a couple tucked into pure white bed sheets. Both images are very lush and comforting, providing an all out sensuous quality that I have never seen as exemplified in her work. Takashi Murakami super-saturated cartoon creatures that reference Japanese animation are simply amazing. In The Castle of Tin Tin from 1998, sharp teeth and multiple eye balls with green pupils diabolically confront the viewer. A lavender whirlwind form swirls down the center of two panels that make up the 10 foot square painting, creating a dizzying and animated quality to the work.

The day after visiting the Walker, I attended a Minnesota Wild game at the new Excel Center in St. Paul.* Quite suddenly, on the new 360 degree advertising scoreboard that divides the upper and lower seating decks of the Excel Center, all text and advertisements (such as "Shots on goal: Minnesota 22, Detroit 37" and "Fly Northwest Airlines") disappeared. The entire screen became a blazing red-orange. In between flashes of the words "Go Wild," the screen that ran completely around the arena glowed in a stunning saturated red. Though done in electronic lights, certainly this was the most brilliant monochrome painting I had ever seen. Any thoughts I may have had of the painting show ending when I walked out of the Walker and out of the context of the museum were immediately questioned by this flashy monochrome. Though most certainly designed as a backdrop for the text "Go Wild," the red lights now had a new function: it was a painting, and I connected this painting very comfortably to the show at the Walker. I wondered if Fogle would accept this work as part of the exhibition. For who can really say where the edge of the canvas stops and the edge of the world begins?

Kasarian Dane, courtesy of 16 Beaver Group, Inc. This review has been edited for lenght. Read the rest at [http://16beaver.com/]

* For the record, Minnesota lost in overtime to the Detroit Red Wings, with the winning goal scored, unfortunately, by Brendan Shanahan.

Our summer "vacation"

FGA / DOG / PGA / ??? will be even less visible than usual for the summer. Like the Examiner and C. A. C. A. (even though we are younger) we are ripe for a make-over. We will go dark for a few months and hope to rise, Phoenix-like from our ashes, with a new life and look and distribution system. Probably a new name. A new attitude? Fuck. Without our attitude, what good are we? You will know us in new guise by our word.

In the meantime -- our pause is your window of opportunity. If you want to write or assist with web-page design or publication management, we are entertaining suggestions. Talk to Michael Bulka or Pedro Velez


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