May 28th - June 25
Opening reception Saturday, May 28th, 6 - 9 pm
Panel discussion (see sidebar) begins prior to opening at 4:30 pm
Eric Yahnker, Ginny Cook, Chris Peters, Julie Orser, Vincent Ramos, Elana Mann, Adam Overton, Margaret Wappler, Andrew Choate, Jeanne Hoel, Madison Brookshire, Alexandra Cuesta, Ben Rodkin, Vera Brunner-Sung, Victor Hu, Tanya Rubbak, William Ransom, Oona Gardner, Christian Tedeschi, Julie Schustack, Thomas Müller, Margaret Griffith, Jamison Carter, Phung Huynh, David Yamamoto, Julia Paull, Shelby Roberts, Betsy Lin Seder, Daniel Ingroff, Christine Frerichs, Asher Hartman, Haruko Tanaka, Patrick Strand, Marisa Sayler, James E Anderson, Ariane Vielmetter, Gregory Michael Hernandez , Melissa Manfull, Alexander Kroll, Renee Petropoulos
Let's be honest. Telephone as an idea is perhaps a little loose, intellectually, for a museum to do. Asking one artist to select the next and that person to select the next and so on until 40 artists are selected... the whispered secret of the new and fresh, a sort of underground, from one to another, changing with every telling, seems to fit with a less institutional venue's programming. It has no historical research connected to it. It does not feature a roster of renowned artists from an accepted cannon of contemporary art nor does it thematically expose/explore/investigate a grand notion of our time. It is something that should be done by a young artist-run group, freshly out of grad school, with lots of energy, enthusiasm and a desire to network. It is grass roots art activity and all the better for that.
Which is precisely why we here at TAM are going to do it.
In a return to our roots it is a way to reconnect to the pleasures of 'curating' without the careerism - stepping back and allowing the artists a part in thedecision making process and a way to look at the 'state of the union' for art in LA. Of course I cannot deny the benefits either - connecting TAM to a group of dynamic artists I was somewhat unfamiliar with previously. This project will move the TAM program into new areas, away from the habit of my own curatorial leanings - a good thing for TAM as much as myself personally. A fresh look. A new demographic. It is intended as a balance within the TAM schedule, in between exhibitions from famous artists or International shows and most importantly a way to engage again with what a museum is for and who it is for.
TAM wishes to serve the artist's community as much as anyone else's. A pragmatic look tells us that we cannot compete with the Hammer or MOCA - staff numbers, name recognition and funds, if nothing else, prevent this. So what can we do? We can move faster. We can recognize newer talents and become an advocate for emerging artists. We can see our curatorial model reflected in the idea of the European Kunsthalle and our role as a curators venue integrated with TAM as also an artist's venue, of our role as producers and facilitators. A space that understands and believes in being artist-centric and instigates projects that empower them and affirm our commitment to this ideal.
Yes, we show artists who are internationally recognized and respected - as any museum should. Yes, we have strongly curated theme shows that follow the logic of a thesis and present an outcome from those deliberations. Yes, we also have a regional show that reflects upon those artists who live in the area and are mostly amateurs. But we think that we should also question those roles. This kind of show, self-reflexively chortling at its own scenario, can function to talk about serious matters while having some fun.
Artists selecting each other sounds like a recipe for disaster at times. Unless of course you trust your artists, that you trust their judgement and integrity. A potential problem of quality? We say - Curate the artist not the artwork. Quality will out. Trust in a smart person to select a smart person. Trust that all the genuine investment into this activity, the mutual respect from one artist to another, will emerge from the brackish possibility of purely selfish careerist selections.
Telephone tells you about what smart, emerging LA based artists respect and look at on a peer level, what they wish to be presented to audiences for its quality of thought and integrity. It also tells you about the inner workings of how things really get done. Referrals, recommendations and friendships. Two sides of the same coin, but both halves based in the optimism and hope that artist's have for the value of art and the art world, when so often all we hear of is the base, the selfish and the egotistical, from those that peddle such things.
So. For all the 'juvenile' qualities of this project it is the fresh hope and youthful enthusiasm of its form that we look to and value. Listen closely and I will whisper to you a secret.......
Max Presneill, 2011
The Future Can Wait presents:
curated by Zavier Ellis, Edward Lucie-Smith, Max Presneill & Simon Rumley
Group show of over 100 works on paper from London, UK based artists
VIDEO ROW: With Hands And Feet
Curated by Aoife Rosenmeyer (Zurich, Switzerland)
Video Artists: Mark Clare, Sigune Hamann, Ernesto Leal, Fabian Chiquet, Roy Menahem Markovich, Richard Mosse
When all else fails, we communicate with hands and feet. If we are trying to make ourselves understood but do not understand the local language, if we cannot speak, if words do not seem adequate to express the weight or urgency of what we want to say, we turn to gestures. We use them continually, without thinking about it. Gestures operate in parallel with verbal language, in three dimensions and without a grammar. A smile, a slap, a jump – each of these means something, even if we cannot put it into words.
When required, hands and feet communicate needs, intentions and attitudes. With movement, we can be direct, we escape the constraints of languages which are never as straightforward as they pretend to be. “Words are actually arbitrary cultural conventions posing as if they were not arbitrary at all” writes Michael Taussig. Words confine our expression, standardising it within the limits imposed by the culture that formed that language.
If you remove words from speech, much remains. To concentrate only on the words in a conversation means to ignore gestural, musical and dynamic elements. Unlike language, which leaves room for egotistical showiness, the remainder tends towards the urgency of necessity. The ‘umm’s and ‘aww’s, the tenor of a voice, the shape of an outstretched hand, the bearing of an interlocutor are elements that cannot always be pinned down; they try to evade categorisation. Being beyond words they are understood in a wordless fashion. The communicator is bypassing language.
If we take written and spoken language as the institutional method of communication, a tool of authority, then gestures can operate on the margins and in a clandestine and mercurial fashion accept or subvert that authority. Whether one thinks of oneself as possessing authority or not, we are individuals operating with languages that depend on a broadly shared understanding, until we use gesture or unformed sound.
Despite all this, written and spoken language dominates the quotidian. These artists’ films bring a peripheral expression to the fore. Works are gathered here from artists who have isolated, examined and engaged with non-linguistic communication. Their messages are all subject to the eye of a camera, an unequal partner in a conversation, so present situations that are as artificial as sitting at a desk to learn a language.
Mark Clare borrows the soundtrack from the Danish film Der perfekte menneske (1968) in his 2007 film of the same name, The Perfect Human. The earlier film by Jørgen Leth adopted the style of educational films and featured two young and attractive figures in a blank set demonstrating what the narration suggested. Clare transposes the scene to his cramped studio, where he performs for the camera in bright pink pyjamas. The ideal is made human, i.e. imperfect, but also attracts our sympathy more than the models whose paradigmatic qualities were praised in Leth’s film. A complete human must be more than an athletic archetype; they must also be capable of frailty, absurdity and humour.
Sigune Hamann’s Waver, (2009) tries to make contact with the viewer, but is suspended in the distance. Her tireless, good-humoured attempts are destined to bring her no closer to us. The half-smile on her face suggests a trusting openness, even though, shielding her eyes from the sun, she cannot clearly see who or what she is facing. In Hamann’s work limbo remains a hopeful state, yet nonetheless the continual repetition of her action brings no change, no improvement in her situation.
Like Hamann’s film, Ernesto Leal’s work Hoy Tampoco (Not today either), (2005) is a short looping sequence, though its mood is very different. Alone the small, everyday gesture of fingers tapping on a table attests to time wasted, to impatience and to thwarted expectations. The longer the film plays, the greater the mounting tension. Though the work was created six years ago, it is easy to read it in connection with the recent overflowing of anger in Arab states, where one man’s gesture of frustration and desperation had cataclysmic, far-reaching repercussions. Leal shows us that the slightest of signals can hide significant force.
Roy Menachem Markovich and Jasmin Skurnik Glikzelig’s Gym&Tony – Pop, (2008) is three minutes of bacchanalian excess. To an upbeat tune a suave gentleman in white waiter’s gloves uncorks bottle after bottle of fizzed champagne for his dolled-up companion. Each pop seems to catalyse greater jollity, as her giggles suggest, till their good mood reaches a hiatus. Without dialogue to make the scene specific, this is the universal stuff of advertising fantasy, but the image palls as their gestures find no conclusion or satisfaction.
Fraternity, (2007), by Richard Mosse, also attests to excess, but with very different results. Mosse collaborated with the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Yale University to make the work. Amongst famous alumni of the fraternity are five former presidents of the United States. For the prize of a keg of beer, Mosse challenged ten imposing figures from the fraternity (whose objects include ‘the Maintenance of Gentlemanly Dignity, Self-Respect, and Morality in All Circumstances’) to demonstrate which of them could yell the longest. What starts as a cacophony of aggressive male voices gradually dwindles as men fall by the wayside, till just one, red faced, almost apoplectic figure remains. This vocal yet wordless show of superiority is both ridiculous and horrifying.
Although Fabian Chiquet is the actor in his video Mein Tanz (My Dance), 2008, he submits to the authorship of strangers who interpret his movements. Chiquet filmed himself dancing alone, with the lack of inhibition of one who has been possessed by the music; he then posted this video online and collected the anonymous responses to his performance, integrating their words as lyrics to the music. The comments range from complimentary to abusive, with most commentators eager to make judgements about the figure they see based on his movements. By taking what would be typical behaviour in a darkened club in a crowd of strangers into an even more densely populated but less visceral online environment, Chiquet provokes oddly aggressive reactions.
This programme was put together by Aoife Rosenmeyer, a writer and curator based in Zurich.