Sunday, October 14, 2007

Luster, the Project 4/Pink Line "art happening," took place Saturday night from 7:00 pm to midnight and Sunday from noon to 5:00 pm. The event was held at the Lee Jensen Brake Shop on 14th Street, a site that's apparently destined to become some sort of high end design firm.

I missed the Saturday night portion, but I managed to swing by on Sunday to take a look.

The theme for Luster is admittedly a little flimsy: Hey, look! Gold and other shiny stuff! The work is something of a mixed bag, and not all of it profits from being shown in a broken down brake shop--although the space is certainly not without its charm.

Kate Hardy is an obvious choice for inclusion. Her American Idolatry installation at DCAC earlier this year explored commodification and the seemingly arbitrary nature of pricing in the art world. That project makes a return appearance here: Little plastic figurines--collected intentionally or accumulated absently by the artist over the years--have been covered with gold leaf. Each figurine sits in a clear acrylic presentation box. The boxes are lined up along a narrow shelf, arranged by price point, from low to high, and the prices are clearly displayed next to the pieces. The pieces are pretty affordable, ranging from a few dollars to a few hundred; the prices are apparently assigned purely according to sentimental value. The idea is that viewers should purchase works on the spot, dropping payment into the boxes and freely taking the figurines.

It's nice to see this again, but the encore seems a little unnecessary. I thought the presentation at DCAC was pretty strong; the scaled-down group show version doesn't really add anything. Really, the piece begs to be shown in a more traditional white cube gallery atmosphere--for the sake of the punch line, anyway.

Geoffrey Mann's Shine wins the gee whiz award: If I understand the piece correctly, it's designed and constructed electronically--a computer generated sculptural rendering of the light glinting off of a candleabra. Spiky protrusions indicate relative amounts of glare and reflection. Apparently there was a video component for this too, but it only ran Saturday night, and was absent when I visited.

Trevor Young is a talented painter, though I can't quite figure out what he's doing in this particular show. Apparently he's recently moved back to the area after being away for a few years; the last show of his I saw was Trevor Young Goes Postal at Flashpoint--his mail art show, which I think was back in 2004.

His Untitled oil painting here is a stripped down rendering of some piece of industrial equipment--still-visible underdrawing and thinly applied oil paint float on a field of raw, unprimed canvas. I have to assume that the pricing is a dig at the show's whole commodity shtick: It was originally set at $13,000.00--but then reduced to $1300.00 for "one night only", for quick sale.

I'm a fan of Project 4, and I'm happy to have gotten the chance to see this installation. But I have to assume that by missing the party, I missed the show. Saturday night was apparently well attended--several hundred people came by. Sunday was definitely a different sort of experience: Without the revelry and the jostling, the viewer was left to focus on the art and the dilapidated space it occupied. Which were both respectable, but definitely lacked something--say, a gorilla mask or two.


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