|Kumi Yamashita, Origami
|Mike Simi, Mr. Weekend
Slightly less serious, was a giant sock puppet by Michigan-reared Mike Simi, which arched its head around while delivering a dreary monologue about the drudgeries of life as an artwork. Mr. Weekend, as the puppet likes to be called, is built from a discontinued robot arm, which was used in a car factory.
|Jared Charzewski, The Land Up North
At the same venue (Kendall College of Art and Design), there was a pleasing work by Jared Charzewski of Charleston, South Carolina. It consisted of 4,000 articles of recycled clothing, aesthetically arranged. The piece can be seen as a commentary on class, consumerism and ecology, or just enjoyed as a modern colorful variant of the landscape genre.
At another fine venue, The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, there was in impressive mixed media piece by a Chicago collaborative called ABCD 83 (David Cuesta, Anthony Lewellen, Chris Silva, and Brian Steckel). It consisted of assorted geometric forms surrounding an exit door of the museum, onto which was projected a video that converted the sculptural elements into a pulsating city. The door became the backdrop for projected sunsets and flying robots. Most clever, however, was the floor below the door, which became a koi pond at one moment, and shoreline the next. A clip can be seen to the left.
The Urban Institute was also home to the winner of the second place audience award, a swirling swarm of simple, animatronic birds, who fluttered around as an operatic song lifted the spirits of awestruck crowds. The artist, Martin van Wagtendonk probably deserved first place for crowd appeal. The top prize went, depressingly, to a large surrealistic drawing of elephants and other animals, which looked more like a children's book illustration then an entry into the archives of art history. A segment of flight is captured on the right.
There was also work exhibit in the town's impressive Methodist church. Much of the content here was social or political, and highlights included photographs of nude men with disabilities, and a collection of signs made by homeless people soliciting help. Another striking work was chiaroscuro photo sequence by local artist, Lora Robertson. It features, a woman methodically taping down her large breasts, raising poignant questions about both body self-image and gender identity.
|Lora Robertson, Identity Process Kings and Queens
|Chuck Clisso, untitled
Overall, the most impressive venue may have been the Public Museum, a long-abandoned natural history and science museum, which was reclaimed by artists under the curatorship of Paul Amenta at SiteLab. Several of which won critics awards. Upon entering the grand hall, one is met by a large collection of hanging landmasses by Brooklyn artist, Blane De St. Croix. On the same floor, there is a large room of panoramic displays that were once used to exhibit wildlife taxidermy. Here another Brooklynite, Alois Konschlaeger made a series of striking architectural interventions. In one, he extends a reflective ramp into the wilderness, inviting viewers to enter this fictional world, and, in another he pushed the display glass into a diorama, allowing the antelopes on display there to exit their glass prison and enter the gallery.
|Blane De St. Croix, UnNatural History
|Alois Konschlaeger, Habitat
|Alois Konschlaeger, Habitat