Monday, May 14, 2007

I dropped by 8th Street on Saturday to see the Gene Davis memorial street painting and found Rex carefully laying out one long pink stripe.

"This is not my favorite color," he confided. "And, of course, now that I've been at this for awhile, everything I see looks pink."

I couldn't help but notice a patch near the curb where two rectangles of canvas had been spread over the asphalt.
"That's for the Flexcar people," Rex explained. "They wouldn't consent to having their parking space painted over."
Flexcar is apparently not a patron of the arts--at least not when it comes to their own real estate.
So that was Saturday. I also dropped by the Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition at the Hirshorn, and took a final look at Alberto Gaitan at Curator's Office and Barbara Probst at G Fine Art.
I've already written about Probst's work for the CP. I really enjoyed Gaitan's piece--three automatic painting machines, each dripping one of the additive primaries--green, blue, or red--across a white grid, moving from square to square with each passing hour. Each machine responded to local, national, or international news feeds, graphing the occurrence of certain key words or stories.
What I found less satisfying about the piece was the vagueness regarding precisely what information the machines were responding to. The "local" painting machine apparently went nuts a couple of weeks ago, spraying broad triangles of slippery red pigment during the days surrounding the Virginia Tech shooting. But why? What words was it monitoring? They apparently changed from day to day, according to the artist's whims.
The pieces were supposed to map and make evident the organic, imprecise nature of the news cycle--but aside from the Tech shooting, the drips and lines remained more or less constant, as far as I could tell: Dark bands appearing consistently at certain times of day, leaving long, densely grouped drips that trailed down over a small lip at the bottom of the graph, ultimately dripping onto the floor.
Having said all of this, I nonetheless think Gaitan's machines were wonderful. I even enjoyed the sound portion of his installation: high pitched swells of swirling noise, somewhere between the stirring of information in the electronic ether and dolphin songs.
It was nice to get out again and see some artwork that wasn't, uh, mine.
Speaking of that: Thanks to everyone who came to the opening on Friday. I think it was a great success. I'll be posting some more photos today, and will put up some installation shots soon, as well.


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