Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It's a small, small world

Well, it wasn't the only thing I came away with while doing the research on CI08. But it certainly did strike me as significant. I didn't tally all of the artists in CI08 whose work appeared at the Tate within the last several years but it certainly seemed that a significant number of the artists had. Small world, isn't it?

A high percentage of the artists included in CI08 work in multiple disciplines. Not all of them, but such a significant portion that I have to take note of it. It belies the conventional wisdom that says that the way to solidify your career as an artist is to focus on one medium, don't you think?

I found, by far, that I appreciated the work of the seasoned artists. Most exhibited a sense of growth in their discipline as well as in their themes and dialogs. But perhaps, since I am a seasoned artist, I find more personal empathy with the continual learning that manifests itself in a varied body of work. Since CI08 is a group show, I don't expect the curator to exhibit a retrospective of each artist. Too bad.

Modern Art Notes interviewed the curator, Doug Fogle, over two posts. This is probably the clearest explanation about the Life on Mars theme that I have seen to date --
I think the best contemporary art takes us to other worlds. It's not a show about extra terrestrials, it's a metaphor. When I discuss the idea around Pittsburgh I have to be extra-clear because the Carnegie has a science center. I always say that the theme was just an interesting way of hooking on to some ideas that could form a bit of structure for the exhibit.

The banner for CI08's blog reads "Are we alone in the universe? Do aliens exist? Or are we, ourselves,the strangers in our own worlds?" Well, okay. So the artists represent alien thought processes, taking us to uncharted territory, to other worlds. But all of the artists in the exhibit are pedigreed and vetted. In keeping with the theme of other worlds within our own, it would have been refreshing to include the work of some artist working outside of this system. It would certainly remove the dialog of self-reference that has become so prevalent in the art sphere.

Interestingly, the CI08 has adopted a lot of social networking components to extend CI08 beyond the region. The blog, of course, has been noted. CI08 has also mounted a Flikr site, with in progress, installation images. (Thanks, MAN. I didn't realize this was up until I read your posts) It is taking a chance, giving CI08 visitors an immediate and intimate way of discussing the exhibit with the curator and staff at the Carnegie Museum. So, make time in your schedule to see the exhibit.

The 55th Carnegie International
Life on Mars
5.3.08 - 1.11.09
4400 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080
Tel: 412.622.3131

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