Wolfgang Laib Makes Art With Yellow Pollen Fields

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German conceptual artist Wolfgang Laib creates his installations from natural materials displayed in very unnatural ways. In “Pollen from Hazelnut,” Laib collected pollen from the area around his studio for over 23 years. In the gallery, he carefully sifted the rich yellow powder into a saturated rectangular field. He says,

“I wanted to have this very intense, concentrated experience … with the pollen. So, the meadow with flowers where I collect the pollen is something very different from how you see it here, a real concentrated experience without any distractions, nothing else.” (Source)

Traditionally, conceptual art is primarily concerned with ideas—aesthetics are mainly disregarded. Laib’s pollen fields are unusual in that they have a strong conceptual basis, yet they’re also lovely and striking. The geometric shapes, as large as 380 square feet, have been described as a “vast luminous field of color” and “a blanket of pure pigment.”

Interestingly it is in the collection of the pollen and the amassed pollen itself where Laib finds the most meaning. The sifting onto the floor is almost irrelevant to him. This exchange is from an interview in The Journal of Contemporary Art

Ottmann [interviewer]: Your pollen pieces are for sale. If a collector wants to own one how exactly does that work?

Laib: He buys three jars of pollen and it’s his choice of keeping it in the jar or to get rid of his furniture and spread it out on the floor.

Ottmann: Would you go to his home and do that?

Laib: Yes, but of course I would be even happier if he would do it himself.

Some critics of the work are concerned with Laib’s “waste” of natural materials. This is not a concern for Laib, who, although he works with natural materials, does not consider himself a naturalist. It’s important to remember that the pollen is gathered by hand over a long period of time, not mass harvested, denuding the environment in one obscene swoop. From concept to exhibition, every aspect of Laib’s work displays patience, precision, and peace.

Read more about Wolfgang Laib on PBS’s wonderful Art21 website and look out for his episode airing soon!

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Franklin Evans’ Eyesontheedge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Franklin Evans examines the processes of making art—the generation of ideas and materials, their transformation from one to the other, and the many varied states in between. For this exhibition, he will present paintings, sculptures, photographs, and a sound piece in an all-encompassing environment. The wall paintings and collage environments of past installations, such as timecompressionmachine from Greater New York 2010 at MoMA PS1, have been collapsed by the artist and transferred to the surface of large-scale canvases. Mundane materials such as artist’s tape that previously played a key role as a barrier, frame, and drawing tool, are carefully recreated as trompe l’oeil representations, as the use of actual tape in the final compositions diminishes.
In the past, Evans has used gallery press releases to create a framing system presented as temporal floor sculpture. This practice has morphed into the usage of visual highlights from the artist’s gallery visits, captured online images, text highlights from books read over the past year, and scanned photographs from family albums. The viewer will discover various aspects of Evans, as an artist and a person: his childhood in Nevada, his mixed Mexican heritage, and his gay male identity. By focusing on the myriad visuals referencing the various aspects of Evans’ personae, some of these “peripheral” images remain on the periphery, while others become a focal point, as they do for indexicalmeasfocalscreen2012. The archive of hundreds of photographs is threaded to create an “image curtain” that divides the main gallery in two and which occupies an artistic space that builds on the Atlases of Aby Warburg and Gerhard Richter.
Entering this tandem exploration of periphery and focus, the viewer walks into the gallery over Evans’ sculptural “library”, an elevated floor and installation object in flux. It starts as a representation of the literal, moves to a residue of process, evolves as the ideas are extracted from the represented books, and settles into the sound piece 1967 in the main gallery room. 1967 consists of 350 fragments from his readings in the past year, ranging from Justin Spring’s biography of Samuel Steward, Secret Historian, to October Files’ Robert Rauschenberg. The text extractions are voiced by five performers and are played on random shuffle. Operating in the slippery non-linearity of memory, 1967 takes us back to Evans’ birth year. Eyesontheedge is on view at Sue Scott Gallery in NYC until April 15th, 2012

 

 

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PopRally Presents: A Monster Mash

If you guys happen to be in New York, join PopRally as they count down to All Hallows Eve with two consecutive nights of films from MoMA‘s collection. On Friday, October 29, watch The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) or Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster (1965). On Saturday, October 30, check out Night of the Living Dead (1968) or Ghostbusters (1984). They kick off each evening with a cocktail reception (wear your costume!) featuring the hypnotizing sounds of the GHE20 GOTHIK DJs.

Costume reception begins at 9:00 p.m.; screenings begin at 10:30 p.m.

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Guerrilla Girls

Interesting presentation at the MOMA about the infamous Guerilla Girls. If you’re not familiar with them here’s a blurb from their website.

“We’re a bunch of anonymous females who take the names of dead women artists as pseudonyms and appear in public wearing gorilla masks. We have produced posters, stickers, books, printed projects, and actions that expose sexism and racism in politics, the art world, film and the culture at large. We use humor to convey information, provoke discussion, and show that feminists can be funny. We wear gorilla masks to focus on the issues rather than our personalities. Dubbing ourselves the conscience of culture, we declare ourselves feminist counterparts to the mostly male tradition of anonymous do-gooders like Robin Hood, Batman, and the Lone Ranger. “

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