Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Olafur Eliasson: Take Your Time

Olafur Eliasson
Take Your Time
9/8/07 – 2/24/08

written by Patrick Dintino in San Francisco, California

The majority of one floor is dedicated to the ethereal work of the Icelandic artist Eliasson, curated by Madeleine Grynsztejn for SFMOMA. Much of the exhibition is a collaboration between science and art, with references to the natural forces of water, light and space.

Reminiscent of the 'abstract perceptualists' of LA's 'Cool School' of the 1960's including Robert Irwin and James Turrell, some of the work was merely projected geometric shapes of white light(Turrell) or florescent lights against a wall (Irwin).

The artist used light projected onto pools of water to create reflections in dark single-room installations, that would seem to fit better in the S.F. Exploratorium than an art museum. All of this was preceded by a room of copper wire maquettes of DNA shapes, complex spirals and combined geometric forms stacked on shelves to look like a surreal but clean laboratory.

While the visceral experience of these installations was fun for a few seconds, it struggled to reach beyond what has already been exhausted by the ephemeral artists of the 60's and 70's.

What stood out as truly successful were the more sculptural works where Eliasson's ideas seemed to be more developed and refined as in the molecular-like sculpture 'Multiple Grotto' which one could walk into the middle and look out into the room which was reflected by the sides of angular portholes.

Similar in form and reflection was the 'One-way Color Tunnel', a pattern of interlocking triangles reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller's Geodesic Dome which stretched over the SFMOMA footbridge. My Favorite piece in the show was probably the smallest one which was called Sunset Kaleidoscope', a glass circle suspended from a string contained in a window box to the outside.

The circle was clear on one side and yellow on the other and as it slowly spun it was at first invisible then the yellow circle would appear and reflect off the sides of the box. All the while the background was a fuzzy window to the outside world. All three of these works spoke to me of the touch of the human hand on nature and our inability to control it.

No matter how advanced our technology, we must continually gaze in wonder at the mysteries of perception, and contemplate our link to the universe.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Distilled Truth? Cai Guo-Qiang at the Guggenheim

MASS MoCA Snubbed by the Guggenheim?

By Peter Duhon in New York

In the spirit of Cai Guo-Qiang, Lee Rosenbaum blasts the Guggenheim for not crediting MASS MoCA for a pioneering show it held in 2004-05 of works by Cai Guo-Qiang. I think the situation is much more complicated than a simple snub but more on that later.

Lee writes in her blog, "there seems to be a news blackout on the fact that the original version of the much discussed centerpiece for the show---a succession of identical automobiles, emanating sparks as they hurtle through the Guggenheim's rotunda---was created for a wide-ranging 2004-05 exhibition, Cai Guo-Qiang: Inopportune at MASS MoCA, North Adams."

Lee continues, "The upcoming New York show was "designed," according to the Guggenheim's press release "as a site-specific installation." So was its uncredited precursor at MASS MoCA."

Was it a snub not to mention MASS MoCA in the Guggenheim's press release or an instance where the Guggenheim simply decided against having their name associated with an institution such as MASS MoCA that recently mishandled an installation project with critically acclaimed Swiss artist Christoph Büchel installation?

Unless their is some significant regime change at MASS MoCA and a new PR firm to boot, their name will forever conjure up dinosaur institutions that cannot raise appropriate funds for high-profile projects that it commissions, and one that pursues the course of getting a foreign artist tangled in costly litigation that presumably cost more than the money they failed to raise for the potential show itself.

This begs the question, should there have been a mention of MASS MoCA in the Guggenheim's press release in relating to Cai Guo-Qiang's upcoming show titled I Want to Believe? I'm not so sure. I noticed in the Guggenheim press release that they actually mention that one of the pieces for the show, the item at the center of Lee Rosenbaum's contentious article, was created in 2004 but doesn't credit the piece as being created for MASS MoCA.

Here's the excerpt from the Guggenheim's press release: "Major works that are anticipated to be featured in the exhibition include a version of Inopportune: Stage One (2004)."

We are all keenly aware of the competition among museums and this could possibly lead to the exclusion of mentioning other museums in official press releases. But for some reason, we have both museum and prominent art writers applying figurative white-out to MASS MoCA.

The Real Story: Here's an example of the Guggenheim and possibly even prominent New York art writers playing the language game to full advantage by putting the tacit avoidance card on the table for all to see with the exclusion of MASS MoCA in press releases and industry leading articles. This refusal of acknowledgement announces to industry insiders and key players in the art world that they frown upon MASS MoCA's handling of the situation with Swiss artist Christoph Büchel.

Bold Prediction: Christoph Büchel retrospective at one of the Guggenheim's locations worldwide within the next 5 years. And yes, they will not mention that Christoph Büchel never fulfilled his installation and artistic vision with MASS MoCA in their press release. And rightfully so, some things are just not worth mentioning.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Panel Discussion, February 15: Collecting Contemporary Art

ATOA Panel Discussion, February 15: Collecting Contemporary Art

Through the Prism:
Collecting Contemporary Art

Image courtesy of Peter Duhon

Panel participants will engage in a provocative discussion to demystify the pluralist conundrum often faced when embarking on the journey of collecting contemporary art.

Peter Duhon, director for Art Comments
Anelle Gandelman, founder and director of Anelle Gandelman Fine Art Gallery
Don Porcella, New York based artist, personal website:
Beth McNeill, international curator and art advisor, website:

When: February 15, 2008 7pm - 9pm
Where: The School of Visual Arts (SVA)
209 East 23rd Street, NYC
in the Amphitheater

Cost: $7

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Last Day as "Are We there Yet" gains more momentum

"Are We There Yet?"
A solo exhibition by Don Porcella
January 5th - February 2, 2008

"Are We There Yet?" recommended on the following blogs





Here are some reviews...

1. "Irreverence is one of Don Porcella's trump cards
and he plays it with a refreshing air of optimism at
his first solo show at Stux Gallery."

2. "Don Porcella's humorous paintings and pipe cleaner
sculptures are currently on view at Stux Gallery. My
personal favorites from the show include the "Fat
Jesus" painting and Air Jordan sculpture pictured

3. "My next fave show of the night- although it is
hard to choose just a couple, was Don Porcella "Are We
There Yet" at Stux."

Thanks for all of your support!!!!!

Don Porcella