Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Biennial Checklist

The Biennial was not a total waste. There were a few good pieces (like this one), but most of it was very predictable.
Julia Meltzer and David Thorne, Still from not a matter of if but when.....
[then the title gets so long it's silly] 2006. Video projection, color, sound; 32 min.

Better late than never, here is the much-anticipated Whitney Biennial checklist:
  • Building Supplies/Low-Brow Materials
    Home Depot should have sponsored the show
  • Clip Art
  • Design as Art
  • Pantone
  • Chairman Mao
  • Suburban Angst
  • Size without Monumentality
  • Obsessive Multiples
  • Faux-naif/Infantile drawing style
    Nothing's sadder than an MFA who (a) managed to avoid learning how to draw
    or (b) can draw but feels the need to pretend not to.
  • It’s not about the figure, it’s about the body/Bodily fluids/Cast body parts
  • Ominous Buzzing sound. [Will installationist ever get tired of that? I
    did about 25 years ago]
  • It’s not about the execution, it’s about the fabrication
  • It’s about Language but it doesn’t say anything

I must say that I did not notice any deer antlers, robots, or creepy manequins and that left me rather disappointed. A few artists did stand out with work good enough to restore my faith:

Julia Meltzer and David Thorne made me question my assumptions.

Harry(ette) Dodge goes on a witty and touching journey.

Daniel Joseph Martinez delivers in every facet from idea to execution.

Mary Heilman's paintings are delicious and understated.

Charles Long. Didn't want to like it but I loved it. His work combines really
well with Heilman's.

Rahel Harrison does a great job of commenting on the mess that used to be the American Dream. It's the show's single mostt dominant thread.

JedediahCaeser's sculptures(?)/paintings(?) are just great.

Adam Putnam's Magic Lantern was so good I didn't want to leave.

Mika Rotttenberg might have the best piece in the show. Very immersive,very thought-provoking. I give her and Julia Meltzer co-prizes for best in show.

Worst in show: Certainly the hanging. Perhaps taking a cue from the crew at the New Museum, it's very, very difficult to tell who created which work. On a positive side, and positive being the key word, the show is hung in such a way that the over-and-over dreary subject matter does not make for a depressing experience. I felt fresh all the way through the visit, though annoyed to see so much derivative conceptualism (a deadly combination). still, it was worth the visit and there were a few yummy veggies hidden amidst the iceberg lettuce.

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