A sculptopictorial installation
By PUNCH

Oil, reflective tape, construction netting, on boards and scaffolding
2017

Surrounding the structure PUNCH’s essay —if read “correctly” —speaks to the tower of babble. By pulling random bits from old Dia Center pamphlets, PUNCH has rendered a text which at once mocks art speak and praises the artist’s own efforts.


The Text:

At once systematic and yet never predetermined, this conceptual as well as pictorial work proves itself to be a singularly quixotic avatar of arcane divination beautifully articulating such manifest implausibility as to propel the question of observation into free-fall. Itself demonstrating that no medium has a systematic, knowable foundation but that all approaches to interpretation can only be handled by means of experience, intensive analysis, patient research and inquiry, this single exercise in contrapuntal linguistics speaks plainly to the notion that looking can itself become, self-evidently, a participatory activity. “Review”, though it begins with the actualities, the quiddities, of the literal, phenomenal world of boards and paint and plaster, ends by embodying an existential philosophy of placelessness — oscillating between moving and fixing, looking and even remembering (where remembering is realized as the ironic manifestation of groundlessness.) Not being fixed to a single focus, “Review” stands out as a statement, a sort of manifesto, that exceeds all metaphor: we live not in facts, but fictions. Once these concepts are encapsulated within the confines of the white cube, it is arguably irrelevant whether they elicit answers or elucidate conundra. The artist, who has tenaciously, even obsessively explored the boundaries of visual and linguistic expression over the last decade has once again demonstrated that an art which relies upon an analytical, deconstructive methodology can still reflect, in it’s plastic pictorial space, the rich legacy of Pollock, at once conjuring a layered optical space and vividly inscribing the metaphysics at the core of our continuous pictorial tradition. The lack of a center has something to do with lack of certainties and so discharges an unprecedented level of exchange and engagement between the viewer, the medium, the surrounding environment and those who would attempt to interpret them. Executed by assistants, each sculptural painting harkens to the traces of it’s own development and comes eventually to circle around the present task confronting the painter himself through a boldly pared palette and an almost exculpatory vocabulary of repose and disequilibrium. The sheer scale of the piece, with its implicit scaffolding limnes the parameters of a vision of rippling linear movements with a multi-focal lexicon of overt and subliminal references and offers a point of departure which, structuring a complex and diverse journey through the lyrical flow of spatial relations, eventually accomplishes the deployment of control via an interiorized depth best elucidated by site-specificity.

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Will Ford and Kresge Save DIA?

GrahamBeal2
Detroit Institute of the Arts, Director, Graham Beal Photo via Bluin Artinfo

Live tweets from the Association of Art Museum Directors meeting in New Orleans last night revealed that Detroit Art Institute director, Graham Beal, was going public with news of a “grand bargain” between city mediators and a number of interested national and local foundations, including the Kresge Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as well as the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

The news, breaking since December amidst rumors and paranoia, came just hours before headlines in The Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News announced that negotiations, while still in progress, and still entangled in some sticky complications, seemed to be promising some dramatic relief in the form of some $300 — $500 million dollars.

Oddly, Beal was paraphrased in AAMD’s tweets as stating that DIA itself had been locked out of negotiations and had little to do with the deals:

Tweeted @MuseumDirectors, “Beal: @DIADetroit has had very little to do w/negotiations. They have happened around us; I have never met the Emergency Manger #AAMDNOLA”

The plan to leverage foundation support has been largely driven by U.S. District Court chief judge Gerald Rosen, the Mediator in the Detroit bankruptcy case, who called the foundations together this fall to discuss solutions for saving DIA’s collections and supporting pensioner’s claims. Ford Foundation CEO, Darren Walker, has also been cited as a booster, bringing other foundations on board.

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