Chicago: The Rapid Pulse Performance Art Festival, in various locations. Kicks off Friday with a talk by Wafaa Bilal, at the Defribillator Performance Art Gallery, and runs through June 10. (Tickets required for the vernissage with Bilal.)
L.A.: Joyce Pensato, I Killed Kenny, at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Opens Friday at 7pm, in Santa Monica.
L.A.:Donuts and Clocks, a 24-hour performance installation with Dawn Kasper, held at ForYourArt, during the 24-hour screening of Christian Marclay’s The Clock, at LACMA (righ across the street.) This Saturday starting at noon, in Mid-Wilshire.
L.A.: William Powhida, Bill by Bill, at Charlie James Gallery. Opens this Saturday at 7pm, in Chinatown.
L.A.:David Korty, at Night Gallery. Opens this Saturday at 7pm, in downtown.
Chicago:Untitled Feminist Show, by the Young Jean Lee Theater Company, at MCA Chicago. Opens Thursday. Buy tickets in advance.
NYC: Sarah Halpern, Paper Plexus, at Microscope. Opens Saturday at 6pm, in Bushwick.
This is a video of me reading news about MOCA. Okay, maybe not. It’s really Marina Galperina in Eva and Franco Mattes‘s latest work Emily’s Video, from 2012, which gathers the reactions people have to watching the “worst video in the world.” (Get deets here and reax video here.)
LACMA Offers MOCA a Shotgun Wedding
LACMA has laid out a formal offer to take over L.A.’s troubled Museum of Contemporary Art. As part of the deal, LACMA would raise $100 million for MOCA and keep the museum independently housed in its two downtown buildings. KCRW has a very good convo about the whole deal with the L.A. Times’ Jori Finkel and art critic Hunter Drohojowska-Philp. Naturally, there is all manner of conjecture about what Big Brother Broad will have to say about a merger. William Poundstone says there are hints that he isn’t planning on going quietly into the night. So expect a few mushroom clouds out of downtown…
The idea of a merger would have been considered heresy back in 2008 (Eric Garcetti hated the idea), but many folks in L.A. seem to be resigned to the notion of the County Museum taking over one of the premiere bastions of contemporary art in the United States — in the same way that you might feel resigned about having to resignedly take in some hot mess of a family member who, despite having every social, cultural and financial advantage, can’t seem to pull their shit together. Christopher Knight reports on why this is such a good deal for LACMA. And the NY Times has the obligatory follow-up. But you’ll find the best quotes in this L.A. Times story:
Charles E. Young, the former UCLA chancellor who was brought in by Broad as chief executive to help set MOCA back on sound footing at the start of 2009 — serving until Jeffrey Deitch became the museum’s director in mid-2010 — said “it’s a good question” why the MOCA board, which commands great personal wealth, can’t muster the will to keep the museum independent.
“There have been people brought on with the understanding they don’t have to do much,” Young said. “There are members of the board who are there for their names, I think, or who have some clout of some kind because they are major collectors or whatever, rather than people who have been, are, and will continue to be dedicated to making MOCA what it ought to be. But there’s a lot of unhappiness on the board. People are not willing to do things.”
Certainly all of this goes back to the point that the people who got MOCA into this mess — aka, the board of trustees — are still in charge. And there probably isn’t gonna be any sort of change at that museum until they stop being in charge. (My earlier rant about that here.) So, congratulations MOCA Board, for your poor decision-making and paralyzed inaction. Obviously, LACMA isn’t gonna totally get rid of you guys (you’re all too rich and “important”), but let’s hope they find a way to vaporize all that toxicity.
A viewing of Paul Schimmel’s last show at L.A.’s MOCA,Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void, 1949-1962 (now closed), would not be complete unless you’ve also taken in this somewhat surreal video produced in conjunction with the show. It’s an uneven buffet of Schimmel commentary with shots of some of the work on view, as well as uncut vintage footage related to a few of the artists. This includes lovely black and white film that Yves Klein shot at judo demonstration in Japan, and there’s loads of footage of Klein crafting his flame paintings — with the assistance of a firefighter and a pair of comely nude models. (I love that he wears a vest and cravat while operating the flamethrower.)
But the pièce de résistance is the early ’80s video of L.A. artist Sal Scarpitta acting out an auto race: it’s totally, charmingly nuts. (And waaaaaay better than some of the other stuff on MOCAtv, which feel like ads for urban clothing companies.)
If you’re a diehard art nerd, set aside half an hour for this. Worth it.
A follow-up to the post about Korean haircuts in Cuzco: Today, we went to Polvos Azules, a sprawling warehouse market in downtown Lima where you can buy everything from brass knuckles to porcelain elephants to fake Hollister T-shirts. We were there to pick up some bootleg cumbias and a Peru shirt that glows in blacklight. The digital section of the market (my favorite part) is a Blade Runner-esque array of large-screen TVs all blaring dubbed movies, ultraviolent video games and lots and lots of incredibly loud music. The most popular video? The K-pop ditty Gangnam Style, above.
Seriously, I would pay for cable TV if I knew that one of the channels was nothing but K-pop videos.
The last time Celso and I were in Peru we had the honor of meeting Fortunato Urcuhuaranga, the man behind the country’s colorful band posters known as afiches chicha — or chicha posters. Today, a friend forwarded us the above doc by Mario Chumpen Espinoza on Urcuhuaranga’s life and work. If you speak Spanish, definitely worth checking out.
A still from I Feel Your Pain, video documentation of a performance piece from last fall. (Image courtesy of the artist and Derek Eller Gallery.)
A man and a woman kiss. They drown each other in flattery. They tell each other that they’re “the one.” They say no one understands. This may sound like the purplest of purple prose scenarios. (And it is.) But it’s actually a live performance that employs the transcript of a Sarah Palin interview by Glenn Beck as its script. Instead of Beck and Palin in the lead roles, however, it’s a couple of young lovers. The words may be the same, but the actions aren’t. It’s grody-fascinating to watch.
For the performance piece, I Feel Your Pain, Liz Magic Laser created more than a dozen theatrical shorts out of television news transcripts (staged as part of the Performa festival last year). Steve Kroft’s 60 Minutes interview with Barack Obama in the wake of the Osama Bin Laden assassination becomes a clubby conversation between two bros sipping soda. It was literally nauseating to watch. Not because the actors were bad. Quite the contrary. The performances are all strong (and Annie Fox, shown above, is particularly riveting to watch). It’s all just a reminder of the uncomfortably cozy relationship between politicians and some members of the media.
For a few pieces, like the ones mentioned above, Laser employs a single interview as script. For others, she weaves together similar language from several Q&As into one cohesive story. Interviews and speeches by Mary Landrieu, Christine O’Donnell and George W. Bush are spliced together into a single work that addresses culpability. It is a riveting work of political theater. Literally. (Though I could have done without the mime-clown character — I mean, why???? — that Laser introduces in a few of the pieces.)
You can catch video of the project at the Derek Eller Gallery through this Saturday, April 21. If you’re a political or media junkie, this represents an intriguing, outrage-inducing intersection. Find the screening times here. And yes, it’s worth it to sit through them all…