Plug Projects is pleased to introduce our second Guest Blog Curator and Contributor, Erik Wenzel. He will be blogging from Berlin, in response to the Remasters exhibition on view at Plug Projects through January 6, 2012.
Erik Wenzel is presently based in Berlin. He is an artist and writer. This past October Wenzel presented If travel is searching & home what’s been found at the WerkStadt Kulturverein in Berlin, DE. Other Recent solo exhibitions include Live A Little, Live Ennui at the Harold Washington College President’s Gallery, and New ‘N’ Lonelier Laze at DOVA temporary, Chicago, 2010. And Belief in Doubt in Painting at 65GRAND, Chicago, 2009. He is co-editor and contributor to “Internal Necessity: a reader tracing the inner logics of the contemporary art field” published by the Sommerakademie at the Zentrum Paul Klee and Sternberg Press. His recent writing on art can be found at ArtSlant Berlin. Ongoing online projects include Kunst oder Dumheit?Cats From Art History and Art or Idiocy?
Much like the artists who channel and challenge art historical figures in the current Remasters exhibition at Plug Projects, poet Cedar Sigo, draws inspiration from and writes about poetry itself. I came across Sigo’s work at San Francisco’s famous City Lights Books in the form of an anthology of his work entitled, Stranger in Town (2010). Recently I have been craving poetry, took a gamble on Sigo and was pleasantly fulfilled.
THE EMERALD TABLET
for Oscar Tuazon
6 The Father of all perfection is in the whole world is here
7 Its force or power is entire if it be converted into earth
One of my primary concerns in poetry has become the courtship, recognition, and handling of physical tension. Does it die down along the furnished room or become changed by it? (I think of THE LORDLY AND ISOLATE SATYRS, the grip in Charles Olson’s line, “only the vault of their being taking rest.”) People know you do something, but poetry is often a last guess as to anyone’s chosen field. I’m still quite impressed by its plaintive skin and boiling insides, its suited discretion. It is much like whistling down around the catacombs, or worse, tapping one’s foot, waiting for remains to surface.
Captivity, Constancy, Bright Prospects, Defiance, Wisdom, Lightning Snake, Carefree, Lighthearted, Journey, Courtship, Infancy, Youth, Middle & Old Age, Alertness, Protection, Friendship, Thunderbird, Sacred Bearer of Happiness Unlimited, Human Life, Peace, Paths Crossing, Warding Off, Feathers, Enclosure, Guarding Good Luck, Watchful, Wise, Sky, Horse, Plentiful Crops, Constant Life, Happiness, Guidance, Morning Stars, Days & Nights, Swiftness, Time, Good Omen, Plenty Game
What I was seeing was half a hotel
so I wrote that down to see the picture better
After first thinking I would write on resistance, its opposite, compliance, kept pointing out at inopportune angles and moving instantly to work. It is just a hair that separates disfigured language (in which the words turn away, icing each other out) versus expansive (marrying the world in warm flowing tones of voice)? Each poem was once a separate jewel- they have been washed into very broad fabric. I have let it roll out and paid the highest price for what many assume to be found pieces. It doesn’t feel as if anyone is working over anything to get a desired effect. They were already always doing it. Distinction is the medium, never something sought after.
“Poetry can be a difficult field to enter into, as I find people sometimes think of it as old fashioned. It is this assumption that drives me to try & keep current. I do not want to interest academics. Skaters are more dear to my heart. Boredom is the cardinal sin. Collaboration can be a terrific introduction to poetry. Things tend to happen a lot faster than they might with a single author. Sometimes I will just be talking my head off while someone else has the typewriter & bits of our conversation will find their way in. It is one of the poet’s great fantasies come to life, having a secretary recording over your shoulder & making the words fit rhythmically too. Often it is the second draft of the poem I look forward to typing (in collaborations & just my own poems). The first draft is a catalogue of content, a list of everything available. The second is is more test of skill &the sounds you wish to make. You may have to sacrifice beautiful & resplendent lines in service of the skeleton.
A lot of my practice is listening. I try & respect that I am making demands on an outside force I do not entirely control.
I wouldn’t still be writing if it was not more fun than almost anything else & if I wasn’t still writing poems that I wished to enter over & over again.
I have tried above all to bring an allure to poetry. Where I would once read other poems to begin my own, not it’s more common that I write in response to hearing live music, attending an art exhibit, films, or just going out. When I to call to mind all the artists I have met & held dear over the years the lines that divide our fields begin to blur. This seems to me a result of both read dedication & capability. We feel like a band of mystics along the right tracks.”
San Francisco poet Cedar Sigo was born February 2, 1978. He was raised on The Suquamish reservation near Seattle Washington and home schooled from the eighth grade onward. In 1995 he was awarded a scholarship to study writing and poetics at The Naropa Institute in Boulder Colorado where he studied with Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Lisa Jarnot, Alice Notley, and Joanne Kyger, among other poets. He has lived in San Francisco since 1999.In 2003 Ugly Duckling Presse published the first edition of his Selected Writings. It was followed in 2005 by a second revised and expanded edition. Other books include Death Race vsop, and Expensive Magic. A second large collection Stranger In Town is due out from City Lights in the fall of 2010. Sigo has given poetry readings at The Poetry Project at St. Marks Church, P.S. One Museum of Contemporary Art, The San Francisco Poetry Center, San Francisco Art Institute, and Beyond Baroque. He has collaborated with visual artists including Colter Jacobsen, Frank Haines, Cecilia Dougherty, and Will Yackulic. Recently, Sigo has blogged for SFMOMA’s Open Space. Currently, he is guest editing the second issue of The Can, a journal devoted to writing on poetics.
Sexual pleasure is ephemeral, but pillow talk, that post-coital act of tenderness, is infinitely fulfilled by the presence of another body. By showcasing three dimensional and video works, Pillow Talk explores empathy through form, and the human being’s embodied response to images, objects, and spatial environments.
Empathy implies an optical experience in the whole body. Described by the philosopher Robert Vischer, empathy (or Einfühlung) articulates an attachment to the human body through visual response, and a simultaneous estrangement, as the spectator gives him or herself to another object or being.
Aesthetic pleasure, like sex, is an objectified self-enjoyment, a series of sensations rendered in the form of an object. Pillow Talk asks its audience to contemplate the body – textural surfaces, shivers, goose bumps, skin and bones – through clay, rubber, digital video, and illuminated fixture, among other things. The spectator, to paraphrase Vischer, may entrust her individual life to the lifeless form, just as he or she does with another person.
Pillow Talk, too, examines the internal dialogue that happens post-coitus; the whisper occurring as one turns inward for resolution of the physical act. Just as the works in this exhibition study form, they also observe the disembodied heart.
In a collaborative poem written with his lover Paul Verlaine, Sonnet du trou du cul, Arthur Rimbaud pens, “Jealous of literal intercourse, my soul/ Turns into a swamp of tears and a nest of sputtering sobs.”
The works in Pillow Talk, likewise, reiterate the dual notions of self-awareness and self-estrangement, a type of Brechtian experience that allows discomfort to be pleasurable in its own right.
Pillow Talk is organized by Stevie Greco and Natalie Schuh, and features work by Bridgette Buckley, Joe Cassan, Todd Mattei and Danielle Paz.
Last week I spent a few days exploring San Francisco and fell head-over-heels for the city, the weather (or micro-climates), and the landscape.
We did the touristy thing and headed to hike around Alcatraz. I was surprised to learn about the Occupation of Alcatraz by Indians of All Nations in the late sixties. It was a gesture to bring to light the systematic loss of land, culture, and heritage of Native nations at the hands of the US government. The Indians desired to set up a new Center for Education, Spirituality, and Agricultural Sustainability. This struggle continues to this day in many forms.
We then scoped out the current protest, “Occupy San Francisco” situated near the Ferry Building. This particular sign caught our eye. Young protesters carry the torch by connecting with this country’s history of protest. This underscores how multifaceted Occupy efforts are.
Life, it seems in SF, is inerstricably intwined with politics. They let it all hang out, if you will. This protestor’s flag above reminded me of Geoff Oppenheimer’s recent work that we checked out at Ratio 3, in the Mission.
Oppenheimer’s show is appropriately titled, “Inside us all there is a part that would like to burn down our own house.” I particularly liked the intersection of color field/expressionistic painting and weapons ballistics in his “Modern Ensembles” (below). Ratio 3’s Director, Kent Baer, was superb to chat with about the SF scene.
We took the train to Oakland for a talk with painter, Carrie Lin, to discuss her exhibition at Royal NoneSuch. Lin was extremely generous with her time and info on the paintings. We concluded with, “you just gotta keep painting.” It was great to visit a similar store-front gallery and see how Oakland is developing and changing as an art community.
Later I did a studio visit with installation artist Amy Ho. Amy has a show coming up at MacArthur B Arthur. A really interesting artist-run space that emphasizes “visual, sound and performance art by emerging Bay Area artists.” Check out that perfect void Amy masterfully crafted in the corner. We talked about James Turrell’s work, manipulating sound, and cats, among other topics. Can’t wait to see the final installation!
We ducked into the Anchor Oyster Bar in the Castro. A selection super fresh Well Fleet, Kushi, and Lopez Island oysters, respectively. These are by far the best oysters I have ever eaten!
Surprisingly, public transportation was quite functional and not really all that terrible. You can choose from bus, electric bus, cable car (don’t call it a trolley), BART, and electric street cars. Plus, their Municipal transportation logo is refreshingly trippy-retro:
Between the arts, politics, and sightseeing we snuck a tour of the Japanese Tea Garden. Located inside Golden Gate Park, it was well worth the cost of admission. Super lush. A great place wander and muse, have miso soup, and get out of the drizzle.
We ended up spending alot of time in Japantown. Really amazing traditional Japanese food at Maki.
We briefly toured City Hall, as our Aunt who kindly lent us the apartment for a week, works there. I wonder if the designers placed TRUTH strategically and knowingly to line up or is this the most ironic serendipitous moment ever captured?
Finally, we headed to Muir Woods. It was like descending into Fern Gully, magical. We hiked 1.5 hours to the top of the canopy to glimpse the ocean.
Building off of Amy’s post about installtions that take place in abandoned buildings, I submit Netherlands artist Jasper Niesn. Check out the other artists that focus on work and the body occupying space such as WANNES GOETSCHALCKX.
Seminal L.A. artist Betye Saar’s site-specific installation at Roberts & Tilton is a blend of objects that are found, created, borrowed and recycled. The installation, which includes works from 1965 to 2011, reflects Saar’s past, present, and future and is divided into three categories: “In the Beginning,” “Migration and Transformation” and “Beyond Memory”. The entirety of the room is painted a shocking red with objects taking over the walls at every glance. Initially some of the domesticated objects seem familiar (a wooden ladder, an antique clock, among others), but upon closer inspection the objects become distortions of what we know them to be. Miniature rifles replace a clock’s hands, and chains and slave ships occupy the rungs of a ladder hanging sideways. The shifting array of works sharing this space takes us on a psychological journey that is at times both ominous and hopeful, leaving the viewer in a conflicted state. The use of red seeks to unify these disparate gestures, while simultaneously laying the groundwork for the unfolding narrative of the exhibition. Unlike Matisse’s The Red Room, which Saar cites as an influence, Red Time not only makes use of this color to express themes of love, but also violence and power. The result is a story of pain and survival and most importantly of continued perseverance.
Carey Lin paints scenarios composed of everyday studio detritus, found Internet clippings, and vagrant residues from attended artist residencies- to name a few. Lin’s work evokes questions as to the nature of what a painting can be and what, however humble, can invoke the necessity to paint. The paintings are quiet and yet insistent poetic statements. One can get caught up in painterly materiality where crusty dryness and viscosity exists on its own merits next to highly illusionistic spatial passages. Lin’s work reminds us that facture, the way in which a paining is made, can lead an audience to incredible depths of new meaning and connectivity to a larger tradition of painting or remain locked in its own reflexivity, refusing to cede any secrets as to its own discrete physical territory.
Lins current exhibition, “Hardly nothing to do without” opens this week, October 29, and runs through December 4, 2011, at Royal NoneSuch Gallery in Oakland, CA.
Carey Lin received her MFA from The University of Chicago and a BA from New College of Florida in Sarasota. Lin has participated in the Vermont Studio Program, The Artist Residency at OxBow, and is a recipient of the Graduate Teaching Fellowship from The University of Chicago. Recently, Lin had a solo exhibition entitled, No way that’s it, at Zughaus Gallery in Berkeley, CA. Currently she lives and works in San Francisco.
Did you know Kansas City is peppered with unique and visionary modern domestic dwellings? One fortuitous night, we took the long way home. In the narrow, meandering lanes of the Roanoke/Valentine neighborhood of midtown Kansas City, we stumbled upon this domestic gem. It happened to be the “magic hour”- when diffuse sunlight makes all colors burn just a bit brighter. Imagine rolling up to a bright citron yellow, domed home, on steel stilts. This residence is the non-sequiter of its neighborhood (just around the corner is Thomas Hart Benton’s former live-work space which is composed of muscular looking stone; a traditional Missouri building material). This hard-edged home gives new meaning to the term “domicile.” There is a small room at the top center that has a Plexiglass bubble from a bomber. According to this site, the builder/designer Albert J. Yanda, had to fight the city in order to utilize (“unsightly”) steel beams for support and won. I have heard rumors that you can make arrangements to tour this home free of charge. How does living and toiling in a “curated” or at the very least mediated space impact the kind of artwork we make?
Yanda Residence Kansas City, MO 1966
1966 Yanda Residence
Architect: Albert J. Yanda
Builder: Albert J. Yanda
Size: 1700sq. ft. 2 bedroom 2 bath
The Yanda Residence was built by Architect, Albert J. Yanda for himself and his wife. The structure, built of steel, sits on what was considered for years to be an unbuildable lot. His creative response to the site is an introverted façade to the street and a soaring glass filled structure to the rear. The inspiration for this house may have been looking West to John Lautner’s Chemosphere house in California , built a few years earlier. Not long after completing this house Yanda would move west himself. Yanda had previously been in the employ of David B. Runnells, Architect to several early Drummond Projects. Yanda’s initials appear on many of Runnells’ drawings as the draftsman of these plans.
A fantastic flickr pic of the Yanda home in winter.
On another note, here is a domestic gem we discovered while cross-referencing KC Modern Homes. Wow. All I can imagine is listening to Earth Wind and Fire tracks during all the swinging parties that must have taken place at its base. It makes so much sense- a fireplace with fringe on top in Missouri…
1965 Hyde Residence
Architect: Bruce Goff
Builder: Michael Rothstein Construction
Size: 3400 sq ft. 5 bedroom 3 ½ bathThis is a raised rectangular plan with a partial basement. The ten foot by ten foot central skylight over the brick hearth is penetrated by the fireplace chimney, which has a purple mirrored triangular wall behind. Strips of “cellophane rain” hang from the skylight, creating a magic play of light on carpet and walls. With a fire burning, you understand the concept of Earth, Fire and Water. Many people know the house from the use of green dime store ashtrays used as stained glass elements in the doors and railing.
Because Kansas City remains a car-centric city, I suggest taking a KCModern driving tour to view modern domestic spaces:
Photographer Laura Letinsky has long been investigating the domestic sphere. Her practice brings the mundane, discarded, and everyday into the studio for examination. Drawing upon centuries old Dutch-Flemish and Italian vanitas and natura morte traditions, Letinsky employs a contemporary meditation on the ephemeral. Remnants of the day are isolated, questioned, and transformed.
One of my favorite features of Letinsky’s work is the careful employment of light so that it becomes sculptural. At times this light is allowed to be the main protaganist of the picture. During a talk she gave about her work, I recall her mentioning one particular goal of making her audience question when a Target bag stops being recognized as a brand and becomes recognized as something else, a signifier beyond itself.
Empty upturned berry cartons, half devoured melons, and delicate mesh bags that once cradled citrus- challenge the viewer to suspend knowledge of everyday products so that formal and investigations give way to and awareness of shifting value structures.
I could not pass up the opportunity to feature Letinsky’s work, as it is an apt fit with the ideas that encircle Plug’s Living Arrangements exhibition. Letinsky is holds a BFA from the University of Manitoba (1986), and an MFA from Yale University (1991). She is based in Chicago, Illinois, and is currently an assistant professor at The University of Chicago’s Department of Visual Art. Her work has been featured in The Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Renaissance Society, Donald Young Gallery, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, and The Believer to name a few. In 2010 Letinsky published, After All, a collection of her most recent work.