Museum of Modern Art
Had Rosler, she asked, drawn any new conclusions on her idea of the garage sale as a self-image? “Well, the artist is always the last to know!” Rosler joked. “But I have to say, it’s remarkable—I’m not that surprised—but it’s remarkable to me to see an active resistance of people to thinking of this as anything other than a space in which they get to buy something they want, and in which we are here to serve them. And who are quite grumpy about the possibility that something else might be infusing it with what it is.”
“I didn’t find any themes,” she told me. The opening was well attended by art press, notably Sarah Thornton and Jerry Saltz. Donnelly led us through three galleries on the fourth and fifth floors, each of which looks like a separate show. One comprises a single, broken row of mid-20th century Eliot Porter photographs of small birds; another, a salon-style roadshow, spanning the late 19th and 20th centuries; and the third, a sort of answer to the New Museum’s recent Ghosts in the Machine, with Art Nouveau-style furniture pieces and 1980s microchip diagrams.
“Take a step back, breathe, and assess yourself,” said Kala Harinarayanan to a crowd of around 150 beleaguered art owners in MoMA’s Celeste Bartos Theater. Harinarayanan, the Director of Environmental Health and Safety at the American Museum of Natural History, was the first speaker at what was deemed a “Consortium on Recovery of Works of Art Damaged by Flooding.” “Once you enter a space,” she continued, “you may think you’re prepared, but your emotions can quickly take over.”
The Associated Press wondered whether the film got them thinking about, you know, something bigger for the band? "We've been thinking about all sorts of things," Plant said. "We just can't remember what they were. Schmuck."(1)
In these senses, at least, New Photography is a misnomer, or maybe an old habit. The feel is more of an intimate salon than an aggressive survey of those testing the outer limits of the artform. Sobriety, seriousness, and craft take precedence over boisterousness and wild creativity. This has its drawbacks, but all the artists represented are consistently engaging, and if the show implies that there is not much new under the sun, it also affirms that the view need not be any worse for that.
“The show is not intended to be a survey of everything that’s happening in photography at this moment,” said Eva Respini, associate curator at MoMA’s department of photography, in an interview. “It was our attempt to highlight artists whose work we found particularly new, fresh and exciting, at a time when the definition photography is rapidly changing.”
A MoMA presentation of films from early Soviet studio Mezhrabprom saves the best, 'Miss Mend,' for almost-last
The young and impoverished Soviet state was relaxing its proscriptions on private enterprise and looking for foreign investment. German Communist Willi Münzenberg and Russian entrepreneur Moisei Alenikov struck up a partnership. They saw an opportunity in the drop in Soviet film production, and began importing great films from the peak of German Expressionism into the USSR. But then, with the establishment of Mezhrabprom's Moscow plant, came the unspooling of authentic Soviet product that would go on to establish an international presence and influence.
On one screen is footage Boulos shot in a poor fishing village on the banks of the Niger River of the guerrilla group Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), which is fighting to wrest back the Delta soil from the exploitation of large multinational oil corporations. On the other screen are the shouting crowds of traders at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on September 16, 2008, the first day of the financial crisis that began that year.
Superflex, the three-man Danish art collective, once tried to hypnotize a million and half British TV viewers. They spent six months in the Brazilian Amazon making soda from caffeinated guarana berries. And last fall, as part of Creative Time’s Living as Form exhibition, they installed a replica of the executive bathroom at JPMorgan Chase’s New York office inside a Greek diner on the Lower East Side.
One photograph from this period depicts a group of people looking at the sky during an eclipse; it manages to look both communal and creepy, as if they were all waiting to be lifted off the earth. It was that image that Man Ray put on the cover of La Révolution surréaliste, but Atget was not credited, nor was he credited for the several images Man Ray put inside the journal. Atget wouldn't allow it. Though the Surrealists were interested in his work, it meant something to Atget not to be associated with avant-garde artists.
High art meets high volume as Bushwick electro-noise outfit Oneohtrix Point Never descends on the MOMA
It was hypnotic if you were inclined to pay attention, or to get in the middle of the sound field and let the huge volume drench you, and a lot of people did. At a couple of points, so did I, but when the art descriptors came back up I’d go wandering again. So did a lot of others. Less than 10 minutes into the performance, one archetypally indie guy in his 20s standing near me announced to his friends, “These guys suck.”
This week New York’s Museum of Modern Art kicks off “In Focus: IFC Films,” a two-week-long retrospective of films distributed by IFC Films. One of the featured titles stands out both as a major work unto itself and one whose release looked to herald big changes in the U.S. market for arthouse films: Y Tu Mamá También.
78 years ago, Marta Eggerth made a movie. Yesterday, she finally saw it.
She was 19 years old when she starred in Victor Janson's Das Blaue vom Himmel (The Blue from the Sky) in 1932. It was screened at the Museum of Modern Art as part of the exhibition "Weimar Cinema, 1913-1933: Daydreams and Nightmares," which highlights the lighter films—Das Blaue among them—that were just as popular at the time as the Expressionist masterpieces that now define the era.
For three months early in 2006, in a smallish corner gallery with a huge window overlooking 53rd Street, the Museum of Modern Art showed the artist Janet Cardiff's installation "The Forty-Part Motet." The piece is unlike anything else you've ever seen: A set of 40 speakers mounted on stands, arranged in an oval, each projecting one of 40 singers performing Thomas Tallis' 16th-century polyphonic masterpiece Spem in alum.
Ranging from building a school in Burkina Faso to refurbishing modernist housing projects in Paris, all the plans included are supposed to in some way improve quality of life in the place where they are built; it would be hard to argue that any of the 11 do not.
The "radical pragmatism" of some, like building environmentally sound schools using local materials and labor in underserved regions (two of the 11 projects fit this description) sound like projects the viewer suspects are going on already all over the world at the behest of organizations like The Peace Corps. The majority, however, are innovative—and more likely to teach us something new.