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Other Than Art

March 18 - April 29, 2006

 

press release:

Opening Reception: March 18, 6:30 - 8:30pm

G FINE ART, CURATOR'S OFFICE + PROVISIONS LIBRARY are pleased to present:

OTHER THAN ART

Curator: Milena Kalinovska

with Siemon Allen, Allora & Calzadilla, Kendall Buster, Richard Chartier, Carlos Garaicoa, Linda Hesh, Elissa S. Levy, Virgil Marti, Ivan Navarro, Olaf Nicolai, Lucy Orta, Jorge Pardo, Marjetica Potrc, Do-Ho Suh, Atelier van Leishout

Opening Receptions are Saturday, March 18, from 5-7 at Provisions Library and from 7-9 at G Fine Art and Curator's Office. The concept of "the utopia in the everyday" reflects on the themes of the artists in this exhibition. Their individual projects and actions, which incorporate and question interior design, product design, and architectural and social structures, reconsider domestic, social, and political environments and serve as devices for communication between art and the viewer. These artists are engaged in transforming the space and reviving context at the same time as they are concerned with the place and function of art and its interaction with the viewer.

Artists in this exhibition draw on the experimentation of the '60s and '70s in that they reconsider the object of art and its diverse relationships to space and environment. Conceptual artists, as they are commonly described, moved into a realm where art, objects, and actions responded to and included the outside world. Similarly, the contemporary artists in this exhibition have addressed issues concerning sites, materials, and actions, and the position of art in how it relates to the outside world.

Whether artists respond to, or make installations that transform our thinking about architecture, design, social environments, or communities, their projects are sites for dialogues that offer a variety of aesthetic and social experiences: from experiments in living addressing innovative "personal spaces," to architecturally subversive projects motivated by societal critiques, to printed materials as sites for engagement, to objects as "connectors" furthering the desire for relationship, to actions meant to build communities. Both literally and conceptually, Other than Art concentrates on works of art that evoke reconsideration of the interaction between art and society.

For further information, contact:

G Fine Art www.gfineartdc.com

Curator's Office www.curatorsoffice.com
1515 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

Provisions Library www.provisionslibrary.org
1611 Connecticut Ave, NW Washington, DC 20009

OTHER THAN ART - utopias for something else

by Milenna Kalinovska

( For P.H. )

In my view, Other than Art balances what art is today and what art was yesterday as artists driven by conceptual thinking are eager to make a difference, both aesthetic and societal. Taking on a central issue of his time and place, Carlos Garaicoa talks about his own work in terms of the relationship between reality and desire: Every space, every city, is a kind of limit, and at the same time something that is only transcended in the person. I have worked on this with my utopian drawings of Havana, showing how photography overstates dimensions, how it explains a reality, an apparent reality, how it acts as a document, and how one can convey that through desire, through desire as utopia, or as a project for something else.

Not the new, not the old, but the necessary, was the hand written poster with slogan that Vladimir Tatlin, Russian luminary Constructivist, made in 1920. Together with his colleagues, avant-garde Constructivist artists, he dreamt of and vigorously pushed for unprecedented new ideas in art. Moving beyond traditional aesthetics, toward utilitarian objects, that would find their way into architecture and everyday design, Tatlin and his generation of artists were opening a new chapter for meaningful and useful revolutionary art. They were inspired by the optimism reinvigorated by political change and envisioned that all humanity would embrace the new. The promise that the twentieth century would bring technological and political progress also meant that art would play a creative and, thus, significant societal role. Trust in the significance of artists inspired Vladimir Tatlin to develop a proposal for a Monument to the Third International. In the late 1920s, this model for Tatlin's Tower was unveiled to the Moscow public for the first time and created an enormous sensation. The proposition for the Tower was conceptually and technologically complex, signaling a definitive break with the old social/political order and aesthetic structures. Tatlin's Letatlin, produced in 1931, was his last programmatic work, a "glider" enabling individuals to fly. It was his ultimate and deeply personal utopian project summarizing the Russian avant-guard's commitment to innovation and belief in the successful convergence of art and life.

the artist feels a great need, not simply to "create," but to "communicate" something which for him is fundamental, but this communication would have to be large-scale, not for an elite reduced to "experts," but even "against" this elite, with the proposition of unfinished, "open" works.

Thus wrote Brazilian artist Helio Oiticica in 1967. His work, like that of another Brazilian artist, Lygia Clark, pushed toward art that would express, encourage and enable collective experiences; whether existential or emotional, the works of these artists were inspired by the dynamics of carnivals and favelas (slums), therapeutic healings and, later, by the need to resist the politically oppressive military regime. Best articulating where these artists were heading and what new avenues of perception they were opening was their contemporary and countryman, critic, Mario Pedrosa, who said in 1966: We are no longer operating within the parameters of the so-called modern art. I suggest we use the expression "post-modern art" to signify the difference.

A renewed relationship between art and its recipient, the public, became a new attitude in the late 1960s that favored performance, event, film, video‹time-based activity‹over object and thus transformed art's role by uncovering new ways of evaluating its workings in the social context. Sol LeWitt, in his Paragraphs on Conceptual Art, first published in 1967, articulated for his generation what innovation meant in the time when art and politics intersected: What the work of art looks like isn't too important. It has to look like something if it has physical form. No matter what form it may finally have it must begin with an idea. It is the process of conception and realization with which the artist is concerned. Once out of his hand the artist has no control over the way a viewer will perceive the work. Different people will understand the same thing in a different way.

It has been said that every age needs its utopias. Today we may not be looking at any particular ambitious program but rather at an experiment, or what you would call hands-on, pro-active propositions by artists for actual local situations. What kinds of situations intrigue you?

Marjetica Potrch: In 2003, I was in Caracas Case Project. For me and Liyat Esakov, the architect I worked with, it was obvious that we should think on a small scale while working in the informal city. After all, the barrios are self-initiated and self-upgrading structures that function on a small scale. The dry toilet, which ended up being our project, was successful primarily because it could be implemented on an individual basis. In my work I am passionate about what individuals can do themselves. Can an individual make a significant contribution to such a complex dynamic system as a city? ...The question is: how do we envision living together after the decline of modernism and the social state? Obvious challenges are to take care of our natural resources and to foster self-sustainability. In this respect, the future is now.

Other than Art is an open-ended project, modest in scale, that both literary and conceptually concentrates on works of art that evoke current reconsideration of the interaction between art and society and the different places they inhabit. Artists in this exhibition examine the object of art in its diverse relationships to space and environment while transforming our thinking about the meaning of architecture, purpose of design, ownership of environment, and the need of communities. Their projects are sites for dialogues that offer a variety of possibilities for aesthetic and social experiences.

 

Gallery Hours are Thursday - Saturday, Noon - 5pm
(and by appointment)

4718 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011
T. 202.462.1601
F. 202.462.1604