~FEAR EATS THE SOUL/ART BANK (PLYWOOD)
for my sm(art) money – RIRKRIT TIRAVANIJA’S – ‘FEAR EATS THE SOUL’ – is not only the best show in town – it is so good – and, on so many levels – and says all this, and more, with such grace and absolute newness – it is almost the ONLY show in town. period.
you can always see work on walls – but rarely do you get to walk through it.
it’s all gonna be downhill after this. until Gavin lets somebody else do something truly drastic – to his space, again.
it’s on par with that URS FISCHER pit, no doubt about it.
its really so bad that triple whammy disaster in Japan happened. literally. and within a week of this show’s opening. the photos and coverage – did you see the young elementary school survivors celebrating their graduation. a rite of passage – which until just a week ago would have been attended by family and friends in joyfulness. the young graduates struggling to hold back their tears now. heartbreaking. Diplomas and Uncertainty/NYT
uncertainty = fear eats the soul.
it gets sadder and sadder. but art-world wise in NYC – this is especially so. the ties that bind Japan and NYC art-wise are like none other in the world. they are truly yin to yang. brother and sister.
so, it was really sad and shocking to see ‘FEAR EATS THE SOUL’ – take on an eerie afterlife. a kind of ‘hipster’ blueprint for a communal disaster ‘shelter’. . . that was supposed to be for the future, not exactly, now. as in right now.
at any rate – wipe-out disaster, real-time or not – Rirkrit’s presentient, not to mention provocative, white wall throw-down – can stand alone as a testament – to where we are going globally . . . without having had the shock – of being proved to be so authentic – in real time.
an emergency pit stop – if I ever did see one.
a 7-eleven for the soul. with warm food and a place to gather. and some real tough art – to think about too, to boot. just my kind of way station, no doubt.
the unwinding reality shouldn’t eclipse – the imaging . . . and for sure, this was one unique vision come to life. and not one gun in sight, bye the way. big wok. no gun. signifies . . . what ?
peaceful society I dunno.
maybe in the east – there is no looting /
maybe the society is too polite. just saying . . . I mean what does that reference mean re: Chairman Mao – and the great violence his (peaceful) revolutionary thought – wrought ?
it’s part of the great integral beauty of Rirkrit’s vision – that he will supply fighting words. communal tables, and free food.
but, no guns.
soup, yes. east meets west. go figure. the specter of violence is not part of the Tiravanija dialog.
his is a very soothing vision. ladling out free soup, just in case the message escaped ya.
item: the enclosed plywood cube of a free-standing makeshift gallery. not only is this humble viewing space so superior to the standard white box – as an experience – but, who knew plywood could cast such a beautiful hue ?
but it also speaks to the role of culture in a degrading and crumbling society. as well as addressing the role of art – vis a vie investment commodity and form of currency. hence: art ‘bank’.
when the urban structures we are used to – go down – for sure new ones will spring up. nomadic and tent-like. plywood cube-like.
make-shift. there will always be trade in precious commodity and . . . ideas.
and this one is just about the size of your standard atm lobby.
and when the atms are down, you sure do wish – you can chip a little piece off that gold chip art – don’t ya ?
this gallery ‘bank’ has got the free-wheeling feel of a frontier trading post – set up in a hurry.
but it’s loaded with heavy-duty context.
and no doubt addresses the fact – that these days, its pretty much, the other way around . . . nice big bright walls, no meaning in sight.
CHAIRMAN MAO – MEETS ANDY WARHOL – CONTEMPLATE THAT, FOR YOURSELF.
wok vs brillo box . . . why isn’t the art world lexicon more global ? what’s art got to do with food. plenty. food is survival.
untainted food – that is. FEAR EATS THE SOUL – on that nuke melt-down thought – doesn’t it . . .
the first man-made paintings were bison – on the caveman’s wall. magic talismans – as they say.
not to mention art + ideas + beauty = commerce. as in: wanting it, at least to behold it, if not to actually own it – creates a marketplace. creativity is the human spark. is this is a mini-bodega for the mind ?
next to the soup kitchen = you find a place to buy food for the mind ?
art + ideas + beauty = inspiration = food for the soul = hope = thought. when it lifts off – the magic = is the power of being.
being human in the face of an earth we cannot control – is simply just making . . . a mark ? an image. a story in shape and form.
a narrative about east meets west .
commerce + magic = human nature in a nutshell.
but maybe its just as simple as: wok needs brillo pad = to stay clean.
love the part about Mao in his sleeping bag on the trail – I know there are some creation myths there – though personally it reminds me of my friend Alfredo being incarcerated in Chinese secret detention, and dreaming of TV . . .
or is that TV over . . . books. I guess that’s up for grabs.
but again – no gun in sight. instead we get the coke bottles, or is that beer, no diff.
in a crate – a brilliant footnote – if I ever did see one. a brilliant graphic.
and if I could only write, as plainspoken as this art speaks – I’d be alright.
big question: I guess my big question would be whether Gavin will maintain this brilliant break-down – as his exhibition space proper, going forward ?
I mean the whole entire block-thru installation – rather than pull it down for the next artist ?
I’m gonna cry rivers, come April 16th – if he does.
I mean, even that huge empty communal ‘dining’ hall – would make a great viewing space – and the little plywood cube spaces – could be re-fashioned to any number of future errands ?
it’s also a great relief to escape from the over-exposure of the typical gallery – front office – endless 3 ring binders and girls on phones – which like a boiler room on a cruise ship – should be outta sight, enough already. enough with the post-modern realism.
if you aren’t familiar with the gallery – you aren’t even gonna miss it. let alone have a clue how to reach it !!
Rirkrit and Gavin have stashed it away, behind a flush wall pretty much inaccessible. that super rude engine of modern art commerce – finally out of sight, where it belongs. if not totally lost, at least forgotten.
but I guess still purring on. sight unseen . . .
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH