Tuesday May 31, 2005

Marking Time

A Morir The Miami Art Museum seems to want us to take exhibitions on its first floor less seriously then what goes upstairs. Downstairs is for uneven group shows and the small project room somewhat dismissively called “New Work.” Upstairs is for big, important traveling exhibitions – the draw. So it’s encouraging that we get a show up there that’s curated by MAM staff for a change.

Marking Time: Moving Images is a video art show for video art skeptics. Most of the work in the show is more closely related to photography then to television or film; in other words, it presents images that need motion to make sense, but don’t have conventional characters or plot. In fact, the closest the show comes to a plot is Miguel Angel Rios’ A Morir (Til’ Death).

The piece shows three views of the same surface, from three angles, projected on three walls. Heavy wooden tops spin and move through the scene, which is so alien and geometrically pure that it could almost be mistaken for computer animation. The sound, as the tops slam into each other and hit the ground, is loud and visceral. At the end, all the tops have been knocked down, and there is silence. Everything on the screens has been painted a neutral color; but for a few scrapes, the images would look to be filmed in black and white. The real/not real confusion (i.e. “what the fuck am I looking at?”) makes the piece immediately interesting. But the portrayal of violence and entropy is what makes the piece memorable.

Bill Viola’s superslowmotion classic The Visitation is among other great pieces in the show. Then there are the paper stack pieces by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, which apparently qualify as “moving images” because you can take one of the posters with you. Whatever. Paul Pfeiffer’s sunrise/sunset video splice is soothing and nifty.

The inclusion of non-video work in a show that’s mostly video is probably an attempt to “question the assumptions of the viewer;” and maybe it will do that for some. But the truth is that it emphasizes the tension between looking at video art vs. looking at non-video art (even non-video art that can claim to somehow “move”). They require a different sensory process, and switching back and forth keeps the experience from flowing.

Not to say that the show isn’t well curated, though – the MAM has always had a knack for presenting video art. Each piece is presented flatteringly; some in large darkened rooms, some casually projected on the wall. Alfredo Jaar’s installation of lightbox photographs and mirrors gets a lavish room with its own entrance area. Paul Ramírez Jonas’ airport terminal display is cleverly mounted on the wall of the stairs leading to the show. And so on.

Good show, then.

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  1. eddie    Thu Jun 2, 04:48 PM #  

    marking time? more like wasting my time. i loathe blogs that never get updated, especially local ones. they’re like porn stars that only “make love” in serious relationships.

  2. jack forearm    Thu Jun 2, 10:51 PM #  

    eddie you must have a three inch cock, you really should visit some more museums- get out and expose your self…

  3. link    Thu Jun 2, 11:22 PM #  

    no so fast jack.

    eddie –
    i suggest www.artblog.net and www.ignoremag.com. surely, criticalmiami will be back shortly. here’s hoping.

  4. say what?    Fri Jun 3, 12:32 PM #  

    where are the thinking minds? this blog is quite active in regards to its output but this is a slack ass comment section! we’re supposed to be talking about something. the moving images show was hardly as insightful as the “marking time” post claims, it had a lot to do with big names and the museum circuit agenda. the show was poorly curated and felt like some restructuring of another show layout that happened somewhere else already.. ah. i’m ranting, somebody say something.

  5. cohen    Fri Jun 3, 01:18 PM #  

    this blog is brand fukin new,,, the comments have not picked up,,, cause a blog needs time to find its agendas
    the video show at MAM is a little boring. im not sure what would have made this work for me.

  6. alesh    Fri Jun 3, 03:57 PM #  

    posting has slowed down because of unreliable internet connections at CM headquarters. arrangements are being made, and everything should be like clockwork after this weekend.

  7. eddie    Sun Jun 5, 04:44 PM #  

    it’s back. great. thanks alesh. no thanks jack. and thanks to link, ignore magazine held me over (given, it was just a few days). good if weird stuff.