Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The last few weeks have been a problem, because i've had an infection for over a month. What happened was: i went to my annual visit to the oncologist at the beginning of October, there was excessive blood in my urine; since i've had cancer, there was a fear that this might be a sign of cancer in another part of my body. I then had a CT Scan, which showed that there was the possibility of kidney stones, but not cancer. I went to my urologist, and he then had me come into his office for tests. And the tests proved that there was no cancer, i have one very small kidney stone, and there was an infection. And i was given antibiotics, enough for four day, and then the infection should have cleared up. But it didn't. So i had to call the urologist, and he prescribed more antibiotics (which i am still taking) but the infection seems to be clearing up. But it's taken a while.

So that's slowed down my momentum, in terms of getting out and seeing work. However, before i was sidelined by this infection, i had gone to see several things. For example: went to the Whitney Museum for the press preview of "Rituals of Rented Island: Object Theater, Loft Performance, and the New Psychodrama - Manhattan 1970-1980"; the focus is on twenty artists: Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Jared Bark, Ericka Beckman, Ralston Farina, Richard Foreman/Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Julia Heyawrd, Ken Jacobs Apparition Theater of New York, Mike Kelley, The Kipper Kids, Jill Kroesen, Sylvia Palacios Whitman, Yvonne Rainer and Babette Mangolte, Stuart Sherman, Theodora skipitares, Jack Smith, Michael Smith, Squat Theater, Robert Wilson/Byrd Hoffman School of Byrds, and John Zorn/Theatre of Musical Optics. There's a lot i have to say about this exhibition (organized by Jay Sanders with an assist from J. Hoberman), but i'll get to that. While i was at the Whitney, i also took the time to see the Robert Indiana exhibition (which was stunning; it's one of the most beautifully laid-out exhibits at the Whitney): what i especially appreciated was that the work was concentrated, it was mostly from a very specific period and so all of the paintings and sculptures revealed a thoroughly consistent aesthetic.

I finally got to see the final installment of Boris Charmatz's "Musee de la Danse" at The Museum of Modern Art (November 3, 2013); this section was "Flip Book", one of the most curious ideas for a dance. Taking the photographs from a book about Merce Cunningham by David Vaughn, Charmatz used the photos to construct a dance. The very idea is bizarre, because the dynamics of Cunningham's movement style, the particular weight and density, the fluidity and the attack, cannot be duplicated through the accretion of poses. Cunningham's work is not about static tableaux, but that becomes the essence of Charmatz's ersatz Cunningham dance.

While at MoMA, finally got to see the Magritte show, which was nicely displayed on the sixth floor, but the show was incredibly crowded! I also caught "Soundings" the sound exhibition that proved to be the last exhibition curated by Barbara London: a rather limited show, but still, it was also well-designed (the problem is that it seemed arbitrary: there are so many artists working with sound, and the choices of the particular artists was not compelling), and "Dorothea Rockburne: Drawing That Makes Itself"which was also quite beautifully displayed. But the crowds that had come for Magritte had little interest in anything else: there were a few stragglers going through "Soundings" but the Dorothea Rockburne was empty.

The idea of museums as a place of contemplation seems to have become a thing of the past: the point now seems to be the creation of blockbuster exhibitions, which turn museums into amusement parks.

But i'll have to think about this and write more about it.


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