Friday, December 16, 2005

Top Five Art Shows I Missed

Living in Indianapolis we often don't get to see many of the art shows we wish we could have seen if we happened to live in a more active art city like New York. And as usual this time of year, all the "best of" lists pop up and remind us of all the great art we have missed out on. I know, there is a lot of great art to be seen in and around the Midwest but today I decided to list the five shows I wish to have seen in person this past year but do to time, money, and location of some of the shows/artwork I missed them.

1- Gelitin's "Rabbit", seen in the picture above. The Viennese artist collaborative group Gelitin have created this 200 foot long, 20 foot high, pink rabbit made of wool and stuffed with hay, and have it placed on the top of a hill above the Village of Artesina, Piemonte, Italy. In their press release they have this to say about the Rabbit, "Rabbit- The things one finds wandering in a landscape: familiar things and utterly unknown, like a flower one has never seen before, or, as Columbus discovered, an inexplicable continent; and then, behind a hill, as if knitted by giant grandmothers, lies this vast rabbit, to make you feel as small as a daisy. The toilet-paper-pink creature lies on its back: a rabbit-mountain like Gulliver in Lilliput. Happy you feel as you climb up along its ears, almost falling into its cavernous mouth, to the belly-summit and look out over the pink woolen landscape of the rabbit's body, a country dropped from the sky; ears and limbs sneaking into the distance; from its side flowing heart, liver and intestines. Happily in love you step down the decaying corpse, through the wound, now small like a maggot, over woolen kidney and bowel. Happy you leave like the larva that gets its wings from an innocent carcass at the roadside. Such is the happiness which made this rabbitI I love the rabbit the rabbit loves me." Needless to say, Gelitin has made me smile and everytime I see another picture of this rabbit, I am happy. And who knows, perhaps one day I will actually be able to see it for myself as they have plans to keep it on top of that hill till 2025. More images can be found on here.

2- Adrian Schiess, "Shiny" at Galerie Naechst St. Stephan in Vienna, Austria. I have long been a fan of the paintings and installations of Adrian Schiess and this show seems a wonderful blend of all his different approaches to painting and how it plays within its environment. And I must add that Galerie Naechst St. Stephan continues to put on some of the best shows of contemporary abstraction I can think of, with a roster of artists that continue to push the bounds of painting. Installation views can be seen here and here.

3- Robert Bordo, "Another Day" at Alexander and Bonin in New York. Bordo's paintings are beautifully serene, a play between abstraction and nature painting, akin to the works of Milton Avery. The subtlety of these paintings can not be described in words so take a look at some of them here.

4- Gelitin's "Tantamounter 24/7" at Leo Koenig, Inc. in New York. Once again this group has hit the scene with style and humor, and honestly, I don't usually go for a lot of humor in the art I like but they have a wit about them that just seems to keep me interested. With "Tantamounter 24/7", the group became an art-Xerox machine inside of Leo Koenig's gallery where people lined up to put an item into the box and wait for a duplicate to be made and passed back through. Ben Davis at Artnet has a nice article about this project along with some images here.

5- Gaylen Gerber, "backdrop paintings" at Galerie Susanna Kulli in Zurich, Switzerland. Chicago painter Gaylen Gerber's show "backdrop paintings" is another show I missed, sadly I missed this one twice. Perhaps there will be a time when I will be able to see his work again in Chicago. Time will tell. Gerber's backdrop series are conceptual paintings, in collaboration with other artists, where his paintings are used as a neutral support or backdrop to hang/display the works by artists such as Adrian Schiess, Heimo Zobernig, and others.

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