Friday, March 7, 2008

Air-Kissing at Arcadia University

It was discussed, during the talk between artists and curator, before the opening of Air Kissing at Arcadia University's Art Gallery, that a group show is often seen as a competition for "most-noticable art work" (this was stated by James Mills, a Philadelphia-based artist, who coincidentally, has never sold a piece of art.)

When I arrived home and looked at my pictures of the exhibition, I found that I was only interested in one thing and it was a piece I had heard of before but never really thought about: Prada Marfa, a life-size sculpture of a Prada Boutique created by Germany-based artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingmar Dragset. Below is one of the pictures (the opening) of the sculpture on view at Air-Kissing:

On a website devoted to Marfa I found this description of the project:

"The work will be located on the outskirts of Valentine, Texas near Marfa on desolate ranching land with no other visible trace of civilization. As one drives toward the artwork it will appear to be a large minimalist sculpture, as one gets closer it will look like a luxury boutique where a display of Fall 2005 high-heel Prada shoes and bags will be seen through the store front windows... [It]blends into the exciting historical structures of the area in which it will be placed... As we purposefully will not preserve Prada Marfa, it will eventually become a ruin so that even in a future decayed state it will remain relevant to the time in which it was made..."

With a 13-note long comment thread that included gems such as:

"Don't mess with Texas. This sounds like littering to me." and

". . . As to how this is different from the rest of the Marfa circus, well, there's a line in there somewhere between bringing something to town and just using the place, gobbling it up to serve your own ends. Thank god a lot of the new arrivals fall in the former; I reckon, however, that we will see more and more of the latter as the years go by."

One gets to thinking the population of Marfa, Texas are a good, well-meaning and honest people who are the unwitting targets of a zombie-art invasion that started with Donald Judd.

Everything Must Go! by James Mills, is a wiry comment on the state of the art market that typifies the exhibition's love-hate relationship with the art world.

As for the rest of Air-Kissing I only mention this highly-romanticized piece of art folklore: Marcel Duchamp "quit" art to become a master of chess, only to secretly create the best piece of kitsch road-side attraction-art on the planet that now resides in the Philadelphia Art Museum; Étant donnés (Given: 1 The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas, French: Étant donnés: 1° la chute d'eau / 2° le gaz d'éclairage.)

Truthfully, though I really like many of the artists in Air-Kissing and often critique the art world in a similar fashion. . . if all of them never made a piece of art again I doubt I could bring myself to really care, just as you, dear reader, could easily replace me if I never blogged again. If art is a job it has little stability and no benefits (in terms of healthcare), perhaps we should all send in letters of resignation?

Air-Kissing: An Exhibition of Contemporary Art about the Art World
March 5-April 20th at Arcadia University.
Curated by Sasha Archibald, originally at Momenta Art (Brooklyn)

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