13 October 2007

Chelsea In Brief

From Keith Tyson's Large Field Array

Chelsea’s rhythm is generally brisk—the same as one’s own footfall. There are so many things to see, and so much that is not particularly meaningful, that it’s easy to think of it as a literal hike. In four and a half hours I planned to get from 18th street to 25th street.

But after shuffling tediously through Raymond Pettibon at Zwirner as I read each drawing individually...

...and then plopping myself down on a sofa at Elizabeth Dee for an hour and forty minutes, so that I am not the only person who hasn’t seen the latest Ryan Trecartin effort...

...and then waiting twenty minutes to spend (sorry people waiting) fortyfive minutes wandering through Keith Tyson’s Large Field Array...

...it was getting kinda late. I was tired. And all the other art looked kinda stupid in comparison. I tried to finish 22nd street, but wound up at the Half King, gulping down a decidedly ungenerous bloody mary.

I still feel kind of beaten and disoriented. And generally, I want art to make me feel big feelings like this, but I have questions. I mean, DR9 made me feel similarly punch drunk, and it wasn’t because it was good. In part, I think I am exhausted simply because I confronted two of my least favorite gallery tactics: text and linear narrative. Sofa or no sofa, these time-sucking devices fail to understand what walking around in a gallery feels like for a viewer—they misunderstand the transaction. I definitely want to get sucked in, but generally not doing something I can do better in the comfort and privacy of my own home. Reading is intimate, and all video looks and feels better when I am on my own sofa.

I’m open to surprises, but generally I’m looking for something that benefits from me going all the way to a large, white room.

I also think I am exhausted because Ryan Trecartin is exhausting. And because the difference between Reagan-era Raymond Pettibon and W-era Raymond Pettibon is elusive. And because Keith Tyson managed to make the cube relevant in a way that has nothing to do with backward-looking modernist mannerism.

Over and over again.

These three shows do belong together somehow, and will be written about at more length, perhaps for ArtCal Zine. But I don't know how yet.


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