I don't know if this is exactly a review, but maybe this is even better, because perhaps this has to do more with why art teachers send students to galleries and force them to do research in the first place. THE SETUP: For my History of Modern Art class we are assigned to go to these particular galleries (mostly in SoHo) and then write a review of a specific artists work we saw. 400 words.
So I went to SoHo and began checking out the galleries on the list, all excited because It's been a while since I've gone down there, Infact I hadn't been there since Freshman year, because since then I've only had these cartooning classes and english electives and none of them made us go to any art shows; and since I commute from Long Island everyday (an hour and a half commute) I rarely have time to do anything culturaly stimulating in the city (sigh). So even the though I enjoy going to art shows, sometimes it takes something like a midterm to motivate me. Anyways I decided to go to all of them because I was so excited but much to my dissapointment I wasn't all that impressed at first. One of the other options was to go to a performance art show titled LIVE SEX but when I try to "go down" theres a line all the way around the building. So I just took pictures of the line as a keepsake (one that included the editor of SCREW magazine) Luckily my friend Tony from class calls that night and tells me about the Richard Serra show at The Dia building. I hadn't even thought to go;..something about it being in Chelsea( which supposedly is replacing SoHo as the art community to beat) for some reason made me forget about it. But hey, I'm still getting into the whole "absorbing culture" mode so I'm up for more art, especially if it's better than to SoHo exibits.
I guess this is where the beginnings of my real term paper begins:
Going to see the Richard Serra show was quite the experience. From beginning to end a real world adventure. Having never been to the art district of Chelsea I was rather confused and found myself lost tring to find the whereabouts of the Dia building in the mists of factories and warehouses...my friends questioning if it even existed. At one point we ended up asking for directions at what seemed to be a nightclub/whorehouse/ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW exibit. When we finnaly found our way to the Dia and paid the $2 student fee and were informed that the exibit was actually not in the building but in some warehouse across the street. We were escorted by a large Minotour of a man to the unmarked garage where he unlocked the gate and alowed us to enter. The room seemed like a hangar large enough to hold a u.f.o, infact at first glance around thats exactly the impression that I got. The only source of light in the room came from a sky light above, and the entire space was completely bare...with three exceptions. Giant tilted elipses!! Very cool! I don't know what I expected really but believe me they were a lot bigger than I thought. I guess for the most part I never really paid much attention to modern sculpture, but Serra's work really begs to be noticed. "Made of rolled steel plates, each two inches thick and weighing twenty pounds a piece, standing abutted on the ground."(L.C.) Its very easy to feel dizzy as you walk around these giant steel cirlcles, imagining yourself as an ant walking around a giant brass cup or as a character in some strange fantasy.
Once inside the labyrinth you go in what feels like a long slanted corridor around the elipse, the experience is very claustrophopic, you can only walk single file (I don't think overweight people could even make it through), until you finally reach the center which is a large open space. You can't help but feel really insignificant as you look around... trapped.
My friends pointed out that the Richard Serra experience reminded them of the Terry Gilliam movie BRAZIL and I totally agree which brings me to:
LATER THAT NIGHT: I went with two different friends and one to see this new movie called DARK CITY directed by Alex Proyas (see link below) that had just opened that night. This all connects because in the film these characters are trapped in this world that is being manipulated by these higher alien beings. The major reoccurring symbol of the movie is that of a rat in a maze ; which forshadows the climax of the movie where the audience (and the main characters) realises that the city is in fact a big maze with no escape. No one can leave the city because it is a flying saucer in space, no longer a part of the earth. Watching this movie was like a continuation of the art exibit.
So I decided to do some research at the S.V.A. library and happened to notice a sculpture magazine on the shelf. I figured I'd breeze through it and see if maybe it mentioned the exibit. Nope but they showed a photo from a previous piece by Serra called "The Snake" that looked really cool. But I find myself sitting down and pouring through the magazine and when I'm done i go and start looking through all the back issues of SCULPTURE magazine enthralled in the process. I don't know why I never realised it before but I LOVE sculture.I mean a lot. I like the ideas behind shaping mass and controlling space especialy when you can play with it or distort it. I was really impressed andinspired by so much of what I saw that I didn't notice over 4 hours had passed; yikes! late for class...my Stop Motion Animation class... It was weird but I used to intern at this stop motion animation studio where we used to build these puppets and armatures but I never really made the link to sculpture as fine art. But somehow after going to these galleries I was totally seeing the connections. And I love it! Theres so much work out there that before two weeks ago I knew nothing about but is now SO exciting to me. Quick shout outs to:
And the connections kept coming. When I looked up books on Richard Serra I found one all about his trip to Iceland and about his art that was inspired there. I can very much relate to that. My best friend Jonina Yngvadottir currently lives in Iceland so she sends me many books and artifacts from her country, infact I had just recieved a package from her only two days prior to see the Richard Serra show. This connection adds an extra level of understanding to his work for me because I think there are many parrallels to the some of the natural wonders of Iceland (see pictures at bottom) that tend to defy the laws of shape and space.
A LITTLE ABOUT THE MAN THAT IS RICHARD SERRA: Richard Serra was born in the state of San Fransisco on November 2,1939. He studied at Yale University (1961-1964). He lives and creates in the mecca that is New York but spends a lot of time traveling all over the world. Most of his work attempt to involve the viewer in a sort of "exploratory" process. He says he is more interested in dealing with the shaping of space rather than material. This approach to sculpture is directly inspired by Constructivism which developed in Russia in the early 20th Century. Artist like Vladimir Tatlin, Nuam Gabo, Alexander Rodchenko, and Anton Pevsner made revolutionary steps in changing the perception of sculpture from "the process of 'taking away' from an amorphous mass of the raw material- instead to true constructed sculpture, in which form is created from elements of wood or metal, glass or plastic, as a predictable consequence of the cubist experience in painting" (ARNASON: HISTORY OF MODERN ART)
..more to come!!
Yikes! in case you haven't noticed I can't seem to upload pictures.So I've provided a list of linksEnter: The Dia Center: 545 w.22 ST> through June 14....This where the maze begins...
Dark City: This is the movie I saw after the Richard Serra show...see the connections?
Quicken Forbidden: The amazing comic by Dave Roman and John Green...it's got lots of dark corridors in it :)
Back to HomePage!: The page that started it all , Why not go back and relive the memories...
Visit my friend Jonina in ICELAND!!: The coolest country around! See the inspiration..
Now was that so bad? count to and call it a night