Curating Motion-Based Art in the 21st Century

image Lucy Hogg- McCarthy’s Children’s Paul McCarthy's Anatomical Educational Figure and John DeAndrea’s Ariel II.
Image Lucy Hogg- McCarthy’s Children’s Paul McCarthy’s Anatomical Educational Figure and John DeAndrea’s Ariel II.

I’ve just returned back to Denver from attending the 55th Venice Biennale where the curator Massimiliano Gioni presented an encyclopedia of works from all different kinds of artists. This format destructs stereotypes and hidden agendas in the art world through comparison and example. The obsessive, accumulative works by Arthur Bispo do Rosario stand the test of time and hold their own next to the over-the-top monied pieces like John DeAndrea’s process heavy, elaborate life-like castings that were included in Cindy Sherman’s artist-as-curator portion of The Encylopedic Palace.

In Gioni’s encyclopedia is every kind of art imaginable- including rooms and rooms of motion-based installation. Gioni’s inviting comparison and contrast. The Arsenale portion of The Encyclopedic Palace included motion-based works by Kan Xuan, Pamela Rosenkranz, Helen Marten, Bruce Nauman, Mark Leckey and João Maria Gusmão & Pedro Paiva.

Works by (male) Leckey and (female) Marten were situated directly across from each other in separate rooms. Where the work by Leckey was all commodity fetish with hard edged geometric designs, penis-based plastic and cardboard advertising/sculpture and low tech lecture-ware video; Marten provided an interesting balance of wavy, finely crafted objects, soft carpeting and other forms that I thought must be for kitty-cats.

The other artists were not exactly side-by-side like Leckey and Marten. Held in connecting rooms, the viewer comes upon work’s like Trecartin’s ramps filled with bad boy antics that prompted me to go back, look again and re-engage with Helen Marten’s quiet plushness. Pamela Rosenkranz’ work is a completely different aesthetic. It’s formalism that pushes back and critiques Yves Klein’s Blue. It’s a nice example of how the works in The Encyclopedic Palace were curated to invite comparison and touch upon difference in a globally networked world.

These are some of the things that after a week or so back I’ve not been able to get out of my head. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this grouping of artists in the Arsenale as well as the pervasive use of video and motion-based works throughout the whole 55th Venice Biennale.  Somehow this synced up with what I’d been looking at before I left for Venice. I’d recently friended Chris Coleman and had received the information for Denver Digerati, a motion-based program that is part of the Denver Theatre District (DTD), so as soon as I returned home I had to go check out the Plus Gallery exhibition, Mirage.

Mirage was formulated as a group exhibition of related works of the seven men who were awarded the 2013 commissions for the Denver Digerati program. The seven commissioned artists will be in the permanent collection and be unveiled at the September 20th Friday Flash on the LED screen at the corner of 14th and Champa Streets in Downtown Denver.

All right, it’s a hard and unfair comparison, the Venice Biennale to Denver Digerati. Where the Arsenale is made up of rooms and rooms to do motion-based installation; the Denver Digerati only has the LED screen. Noted.

But, I’m interested and engaged with the work going on with the Denver Digerati and am currently digging deep into Chris Coleman‘s work as a guest curator. He’s also one of this year’s Denver Digerati’s 7 commissioned artists and his collaborative works with artist Michael Salter was featured at Plus Gallery’s exhibition, Mirage.

He’s invited eight women, Sabine Gruffatt, Sama Alshaibi, Brianna Lowe, Sara Ludy, Rosa Menkman, Brenna Murphy, Katie Torn and Angela Washko, whose exhibition, The World is !Flat, will start Friday, July 12th, 6:30PM at the corner of 14th and Champa Street in downtown Denver. I’ll try to post some video and notes from that event on Friday on my twitter and facebook feed. Stay tuned.

Helen Marten at the 55th Venice Biennale

Pamela Rosenkranz 55th Venice Biennale



Pamela Rosenkranz 55th Venice Biennale
Pamela Rosenkranz 55th Venice Biennale
Helen Marten 55th Venice Biennale
Helen Marten 55th Venice Biennale
Helen Marten 55th Venice Biennale

Kan Xuan 55th Venice Biennale

Ryan Trecartin at 55th Venice Biennale

Mark Leckey 55th Venice Biennale

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