Seven-foot-tall NBA star Shaquille O’Neal made his curatorial debut Friday at Chelsea’s Flag Art Foundation, playfully asserting that “Size Does Matter.” Several exhibiting artists were in attendance, including Chuck Close and Richard Pettibon, but Shaq Attack missed his coming out party due to a previous engagement with the Charlotte Bobcats. I’m not sure I buy it–does Shaq even collect art? Does he have the time, between his reality tv stints and a burgeoning rap career? But if you’re in New York, the show is worth checking out for funhouse effects. And if we’re talking size, Shaq somehow managed to solicit the participation of huge names–ahem, Anslem Kiefer, Jeff Koons…
Here are a few of my shots from the opening…
Ron Mueck’s Big Man, pigmented polyester on fiberglass, 80inches high
I’ve got a new gig writing the weekly Insight section of ArtWeLove.com, which is syndicated by Bomb. ArtWeLove is a sort of a 20th century art crash course/venue guide/target-audience social networking thing…Meanwhile, this week’s news highlights include: New Orleans Art Museum goes for broke while Polaroid just goes broke, starchitects rocket back to Earth and Bob Dylan’s Blue Period.
Thoughts on this matter later, am busy meeting freelance deadlines, but I just wanted to post this link: Google Shuts Down Music Blogs without Warning
To my fellow bloggers–if you care about your content, back it up!
In mid-September, Greely Myatt was the focus of a citywide, 8-venue exhibit celebrating his twenty years of service teaching sculpture at the University of Memphis. More recently Myatt exhibited at Mississippi State University, a school he briefly attended on athletic scholarship in the 70’s. After the accompanying panel discussion, I had a brief chat with Greely. Among other things, we discussed our mutual admiration for Dave Hickey’s essays and pondered what Hickey would think of Damien Hirst for working over the art market, rather than letting it work him (conclusion: Hickey would love it).
Greely grew up in tiny Aberdeen, Mississippi in the 50’s and 60’s. There was little exposure to “art,” but there were Biblical illustrations, paintings in History textbooks and best of all, comic books. His childhood sounds idyllic: jigsaw puzzles, erector sets, homemade tree houses and go-carts, laying the foundation for a lifetime of making things.
Clever and subtly humorous, Greely’s work is a dialogue between esoteric allusions and “simple” vernacular methods. Maybe it’s even an example of high-art being subverted by folk (low-brow) art. His work is made from found objects that reference the narrative of daily southern life (broomsticks, road-signs, decorative food tins) but it makes sophisticated statements about canonical art. Essentially, Greely is critiquing art as institution both from within the institution—the public university and the museums—and from outside the institution, as a rural southerner and a vernacular artist. While remaining generous and genuine, his work comments on how vernacular art functions (dismissively) in the academic canon and how this canon has come to define how we think about art.
But you don’t have to get the joke to get the art. Greely has a genuine respect for his materials, for their history and connotation, and for his own geography. If you’re seeped in southern culture, even if you know nothing about art, Greely’s work is touching and validating to your daily experience. A scholar will see one thing, a casual observer another, but both will get something from of the experience—and something different from what Greely, in his perpetual quest to amuse himself, is getting.
Keep reading at Juxtapoz.