Read the Recap, Skip the Show
September 20 - October 25, 2014
Curated by Tom Marquet
Guest Spot @ THE REINSTITUTE is proud to present a group exhibition curated by Tom Marquet, Read the Recap, Skip the Show. The exhibit opens Saturday September 20, 2014 the work will be on view through October 25, 2014. The opening reception will be held Saturday September 20, 2014 from 7pm-10pm.
Paul Gagner, Jeremy August Haik, Margo Benson Malter, Heather McKenna, Björn Meyer-Ebrecht, Joe Nanashe
Read the Recap, Skip the Show explores the idea of treating secondary sources as primary texts, simultaneously aggrandizing and displacing the initial objects of admiration or critique. In a sense, this is the double agenda of any artwork which directly speaks of and to another artwork, to both point at something and make the pointing finger the subject of its own gesture. This gesture is accompanied by a sense of historical belatedness, a sense that a golden age of sorts has passed. The show is over. This is just the recap.
There is too much art, too much to read, but mostly there is too much TV. The Conversation to keep up with and not enough time for it, because while we were watching the object of conversation, we were busy talking. We were outraged or bored and sharing as it happened with peers or with strangers, but in any case, in no condition to recall what we were responding to. So in the morning, we turn to the box score of entertainment, the recap, to remind ourselves what we reacted to last night.
The recap is not exactly a review, not so much the work of a critical “I” offering advance warning as the work of a collective first person, enacted by one voice, but reflective of many. This is what we saw, right? And this is what it meant, maybe?
Similarly, the works of art in this show look back, as if to process what it is to exist and make art in the wake of what they identify as transformative cultural moments. It is this sense of belatedness, combined with a kind of distillation, that defines the recap as a genre and underlies the works in this show.
Paul Gagner’s paintings contextualize the outcomes of process-based abstraction to consider what happens when the romantic part of the process is over; when the work goes up on someone else’s wall, or in storage behind someone else’s sculpture. This is a particularly fraught question for painting, simultaneously the most reliable signifier of art to the world in general, and within the art world, a perennially suspect form for its visible proximity to commodification, as seen in recent laments about zombie formalism and “crapstraction”. Beginning with process, these works remind us to step back from the work and reconsider the wall it hangs on.
In Jeremy August Haik’s A Unique and Non-Repeatable Science, scraps of art historical texts and manuals of color theory evoke a kind of post-pedagogical moment, in which accepted historical accounts are unsettled, and the most pragmatic of documents can be considered in terms of their poetic effects. While events and arguments can be collated and compared, their meaning is up for grabs.
Margo Benson Malter collects banner ads, the scrap material of the internet, and, through digital printing, outputs them as fabric, for use in quilts and soft sculptures. Echoing the traditional role of scrap material in the production of quilts, she produces objects that reference the forms of family heirlooms and canonical art works, perversely enabling our memory of our least favorite parts of the internet.
Heather McKenna’s not what it is but how it is situates sculptural objects in ambiguous spaces, destabilizing our sense of scale and spatial relations. Not documents but works themselves, these images trade the literal space and texture of sculpture for its depiction, displacing the primacy of the objects by doing things only photographs can do, and, by repeating objects from one image to the next, suggesting relations between the objects which shift over time.
Björn Meyer-Ebrecht makes foundational works of modernist architectural theory into totems, covers faced out for veneration as much as reading, on strikingly precarious shelf structures that visually echo notions of modern design. Their aggressively inefficient use of space to display singular titles echoes not only the form of the altar, but also of retail, in which singularity of the thing for sale is part of the sales pitch, but their isolation leaves these books looking uncomfortably poised on their pedestals.
In 3xlady3x, Joe Nanashe creates a portrait of Lionel Richie as a performer trapped in the act of his own recapping, as each of his performances both echoes an earlier one and prefigures the performance to come. Much like the recap, each later performance tells us the relevant events of the song, but devoid of the spectacular nature of the earliest performance, (the most recent being an oddly business-casual rendition of Three Times a Lady). We are left with a performer performing that song that we know him for performing.