Jack Kerouac, as Sal Paradise once said: "I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion." And I think that's a rather apt description of my blog over the years, and perhaps the most perfect description of me in general that I've ever read. So that's what this blog is, a collection of the falling stars that are beckoning me at any time.

05 April 2006

Fragments and details (part one)

Sometimes I think I spend more time worrying over the content of my sidebar than over the content in my actual entries, well no more, I think I've got it down now.

Friday was the opening of Fragments and Details; the bitter and the sweet at the Bemis Underground and I was quite pleasantly surprised by it, not only because I've been very under-impressed with most of the shows in the BU's short history, but because it was unlike what I would expect from Orand given the content of his thesis show last spring and because it really showed a vast improvement in execution.

(This blog doesn't go back far enough for an account of the thesis shows, but allow for this slight summary. Walker's was quite unmemorable, in fact I was only able to determine which pieces were his by process of which ones they weren't in thinking back over the Spring BFA show, though to be fair I was thoroughly not excited by that whole BFA class. Orand's was probably the most ambitious and interesting in concept, mostly video installations dealing with marketing and consumer culture exhibited in a declining shopping mall. The biggest issue for me with his thesis is that while he had a concept and a really decent piece or two, there was a total lack of actual interaction with the space in which it was installed and the space had an effect of making the viewer think 'is this all?' There was also an interesting incident at his thesis talk where he made comments to the effect of digital mediums are what art is now and everyone else was just making crafts, which I didn't hear first hand, but only in the recounting of the talk from the professor who had argued with him about the comments)

Given the installations in Orand's previous show and the alleged comments, I was really not expecting to walk down the stairs into the gallery to find a show devoid of video installations (the closest being a tv under a desk buried by a mountain of discarded clothes playing a calming blizzard of white noise snow and another piece projecting a vintage photograph of a man onto a battered rusting screendoor, very analog indeed) So I'm rather inclined to attribute the pieces in the show to Walker's aesthetic, but I really wish there was a show catalog to give me both names of the pieces and whose they are, somehow I can't imagine that every piece was a collaboration.

I always write about shows in my notebook before I start trying to write about them online, it helps me think and distill what I liked and didn't and what I've learned from an artist's standpoint from going to a show, but I've had to try to stop myself from writing about this one, it's like verbal dysentery because the longer I examine the show or its pieces the more totally confused I become about what the intentions were and whether it's good. In a way I think that that alone makes it a success, after all art is supposed to make you think even if it wasn't meant to make you ponder whether the sheer amount of contrivance and heavy-handedness in a good number of the installations was an almost Brechtian device or just the work of a pair of artists who are far too caught up in art-theory.

Overall I thought the leaps and bounds made in really considering how the environment of the gallery affects the experience of seeing the piece demonstrated the growth of both Walker and Orand as artists. While my own inner debate about how I personally interacted with each piece has sort of made me unable to decide whether they lived up to their concept or intent, I was rather taken by a few of the pieces and I think they did a bang up job creating an ambiance and a mood throughout the entire galleryspace. (I'll probably give a more indepth critique of individual pieces another day, I forgot to bring my camera with me to the gallery, so I don't have any photos, which I'd like to illustrate what I mean, so it shall have to wait)

So, if you're in the Omaha area, I suggest catching the show which runs until the 22nd 11am-5pm on fridays and saturdays (I think I'll be stopping by tomorrow with my camera. Also tomorrow is the opening of this semester's BFA Thesis show, which I'm expecting to be good (of course my friend Frances is Thesising so I'm excited for her).

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