So glad I saw this show at the Eno. Some of the work made my jaw drop because it was so powerful; all of it was inspirational to this artist. Far too long ago I was one of Mr. Saltzman's students. Looking back on those student years, I believe he was one of two two-dimensional art profs who deserved to be there (granted, there were a couple profs I never had), and in fact were the reason we all enrolled there. His teaching was solid and he worked closely with those who wanted extra help. Yet the clearest picture of him I have in my mind from those days is him brandishing a double-sided razor bade and free-handedly cutting a mat in one swift stroke. The angels are still singing the beauty of that.
Emily Weinstein actually does have a legal leg to stand on, as the federal VARA legislation has been called upon by numerous mural artists whose work has been destroyed under similar circumstances. And I don't particularly blame her for not wanting to participate in a meeting called by the group that destroyed her work without bothering to get in touch with her. She told me that she would rather spend her time making new work than spend time helping Caktus heal their public image. She's hurt -- her life's work is gone. And Caktus has shown alacrity by... putting a post on their blog. Time is ticking off and other than that they've done zilch, which makes me wonder how sincere the remorse and shame really is. I don't really understand why a public meeting would take time to put together, and I wonder if they're waiting until enough time passes that they feel safe enough to not call a meeting at all. I hope they get their act together very soon. And in my opinion, this is a cultural disaster for Durham. I've spent a lot of time with the mural with my kids over the years. Our family shed tears when we saw Caktus' gray wall, and I know plenty of others who can say the same. It might not be a disaster for everyone, of course. Different parts of a city become different parts of our lives. For instance, if the Durham Bulls moved away I wouldn't care at all -- the team isn't important to me. But I know friends next door who would mourn that for the rest of their lives. And I care about my friends and neighbors, so I would sympathize. I hope that you, badpoetry, could find a way to sympathize too.
It is truly sad when the Indy does not present the whole story and presents only biased news coverage based on an artist's feelings. One cannot passively stand by and expect any community to protect what you see as your identity - if it's that important you should actively be protecting it and restoring it and educating others as to what it is about. Additionally, the artist actualy has no legal leg to stand on, if researched further this would become evident to the author. And Caktus has shown considerable alacrity in addressing this by offering to have a public forum (that once again the artist passively bows out of) and expressing remorse and shame which is something most companies would not do. And finally, NO, this is not "a disaster." Tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, homeless people needing food those are all disasters. This is a spun biased piece of news, which isn't news at all.
Mr. Saltzman was my favorite professor at Carolina. He told me I was an artist, and even pointed me out to colleagues of his and said the same thing. That meant more to my incredibly awkward and self conscious 19-year-old self than I can describe here. A hard ass, yes, but still a dear, dear man.
What next? Continuing the automotive theme, The Blue Ridge Parkway: Grace in Motion (Landscape design and art.)
I’d always thought it was the beautiful scenery... until I learned about the engineering system, called ‘the line of grace’ - a road-design technique not used today.
Read more, here: http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topi…
Finding evidence that Porsche by Design is more than simply the best produced car show ever.
Some wonder whether Porsche by Design is a art museum exhibition or a car show. Their confusion has not been addressed in the exhibit, its accompanying materials and events, or its catalogue. While an adequate job is done to show the connections of the exhibit with other works of art, the same cannot be said of the Porsche automobile as art itself.
Why the problem is important:
The NCMA, whether in the classical tradition or in exploring the edges of art, is, above all, serious about the experience of viewing art. Before arranging an exhibition or accessing an object, its director and curators must be convinced that the subject is significant as art.
Too little of this effort is apparent with Porsche by Design. Apologists point to an earlier MOMA exhibition and seek justification by slight reference to the Bauhaus movement, industrial design, and sculpture. Yet nothing in the exhibition itself and accompanying materials and lectures do anything specific about artistic elements. The contributions to the exhibition catalogue - from auto racers, collectors, photographers and film makers, historians, columnists, journalist and two industrial designers - re-inforce the idea that we are talking car show here.
The typical "forward" to an exhibit explains what you can expect to find in it. An "afterward", calls attention in retrospect to what you find in yourself during and after experiencing the exhibit. It would include observations from each of the museum's curators about their professional and academic view of the artistic merit of the exhibit, the Director's understanding of how the exhibit fits into the purpose of the collection and the mission of the museum and presents a subject for the traditional, accepted ways of experiencing art and for expanding and developing new ones.
The educational program offers a starting place. Evolution of Form and Ahead of Its Time offer a connection with items in the Museum's own collection which could be a foundation for a critical reflection upon the Porsche to see how it achieves artistic legitimacy ... and how it falls short. The Porsche Story gives a comprehensive overview of the political, psychological, engineering, and business context of the automobile which could serve as a foundation for consideration of its more specific artistic and design context.
How about it, Mr. Wheeler?
The Porsche exhibit is, without question, an outstanding car show. In an art museum it must be more. An "afterward" can help us to understand why, answer critics, and see what the museum has accomplished with Porsche by Design, a brilliant departure from convention with a legitimate place, as art, in an art museum.
I did finally see the exhibit, and I think the review is just plain wrong.
I took the time to visit the video room, around the corner from the cars. (Much of this is online at the NCMA website as well so you can check it out any time.) If you haven't had the opportunity to watch these clips of designing, racing, family participation, and other aspects of Porsche, I highly recommend it. The passion expressed by the designers and drivers enhances the experience when one then sees the cars.
By way of further introduction, from his LinkedIn page:
Art Handler at North Carolina Museum of Art"
Chris, I love how you turn this into a class issue so quickly. The irony being that most pieces of art in museum collections are either higher in value or well on their way to being the price of a Porsche. This show is very easy to come down on from critics who hold art sacred yet are blind to their own myopic definition of term such as "art" and "design." Also I find your desire to put the cars literally on higher pedestals to be a fun irony. The reason they are low is so they are close to the same height someone would find them "in the wild." They are only raised 4" or 6", and that is just to provide a slight amount of protection to each piece much like any other piece of sculpture.
I haven't been yet, and the critique of the exhibition may be 100% on-target. But I believe the exhibition, even if flawed, will draw attendees that NCMA exhibitions usually do not. That's good.
But there's no reason for the reviewer, in a moment of sourness, to toss in the "sixth-highest unemployment rate in the country" red herring. Why not go all the way by closing the NC Dept. of Cultural Resources, liquidating the entire NCMA collection, and diverting all the proceeds to NC Medicaid? Likewise for the NC Symphony, which attracts a disproportionate number of people who drive Benz's, BMWs, and Cadillac Escalades?
It's not your typical art museum presentation, true -- it's your typical fifth-grade science fair presentation: the best foam core triptych you'll ever see.
Ferdinand Porsche was an automotive innovator on par with Henry Ford. He started making cars when they were little more than horseless tractors. In the 30s Porsche wanted to avoid the inefficient belt drive system that was de rigeur, so he put electric motors in each wheel and used friction to generate power that fed back into them. Once he knocked Hitler's Volkswagen commission out, he started thinking about how he could churn those efficiency lessons back into a car that could be both a competitive racer and a commercial vehicle, which to this day is a kind of folly that no other company bothered to try to pull off. These design accomplishments go either untold or barely hinted at -- and certainly they're not illustrated by the ways the cars are shown at all.
As far as sculptural forms, maybe we could have been shown some images of what Porsche's early models contemporaries looked like, for comparison? Ken Gross talked about "that Porsche curve" at the press preview of the show -- maybe give me some images of drawings of the curve from designers' papers? Or provide some of the models they used? Or even trace some of the curves on the walls? maybe use lighting or projections, or put the cars on some moving platforms, to bring out their sculptural qualities? The show is a total whiff in this department, maybe even a negative number. It's parked cars and technical specs.
I'm embarrassed for you that you cannot see the sculptural qualities of these forms. Far from an ordinary automobile company, Porsche's design services are in demand world wide. I suggest you take a second look without bias and eyes wide open. It is not your typical art museum presentation and that in itself is refreshing and perhaps challenging to some. It did succeed as art as it elicited an emotional response.
Highly recommended exhibition.
The Porsche show represents very different turf for the NCMA. I do find myself wondering if the exhibition slot was kind of bought and sold with this show, which really is just cars in white rooms. I don't bristle at that out of some facile sense like "cars aren't art." Nor do I think the show isn't thought-provoking. But for me, the thoughts went in two directions. First, what are the class implications of this show in this place and time? Truly it's stomach-turningly plutocratic. Second, has the museum delivered on its claims of the show as a triumph of design, and of the cars as "hollow rolling sculpture." No way. They don't even address the design of these cars at all. And they don't activate or situate them as sculpture either. So I wanted, in this review, to call them out on both counts. Nonetheless, go see the show, support the museum, and register your own thoughts. And, especially if you disagree with me, tell me what you think. I really want to hear a well thought-out defense of this show.
I have been really excited to experience this exhibit, since I first heard about it. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get across town to see yet. It sounds like their execution is closer to the atmosphere of a car museum and less of your typical art museum. At first glance it sounds like you are very critical of the execution and the choices surrounding the whole exhibit. However, after reading your article it sounds more like the you have been profoundly moved by the exhibit. I hear anger, discomfort, and some jealousy in the narrative on your experience. In short, it sounds like the exhibit is fantastic, and maybe it is challenging the museum regulars with a new experience they haven't seen before. Thank you for sharing your feelings about the experience. I am now more excited to see the exhibit for my self. Maybe, I will sneak down there at lunch today!
In that case I would edit article to this:
"Such "whatevers" include the strange, wonderful, deconstructive show called The Wooster Group's "Diary of Anne Frank," a Little Green Pig production that is not your typical Anne Frank play..."
Fair point, although it depends on one's expectations. Those drawn by the words "Anne Frank" in the title might be expecting the narrative made familiar by umpteen iterations on stage and screen. They will be in for a surprise (a good and exciting one!).
From Byron Woods' INDY Week review:
"In this devised performance, sections from those texts are placed in an unlikely matrix of other sources. In one section, science writer Mary Roach (Tamara Kissane) holds forth on flatus; elsewhere, Ron Vawter (Tony Perucci), another Wooster Group co-founder, recalls an experience from his military service that was theatrical, religious, profane—and undeniably funny. These cards are shuffled in a deck including the strange affirmations of L. Ron Hubbard and 1920s calisthenics and football guru Walter Camp, along with remembrances by cast and crew members of their own adolescence. In between these scenes are deliberately awkward transitions including movement sequences, vintage cartoon footage and the unique vocal stylings of live shape-note singing, and songs by Peter Sellers and Screaming Jay Hawkins."
Correction- the LGP show has a LOT to do with Anne Frank, nearly everything in fact. Come on Indy!
Nice article. This exhibit is definitely worth seeing, both for the art and for a fascinating glimpse into the lives of these unusual and eccentric sisters.
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation