Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Carnegie International 2013 (Part 2)

Phyllida Barlow -TIP
Phyllida Barlow TIP
Last week, I finally posted about the Carnegie International, which is within days of its closing on March 15. I have made two trips to see the exhibit over the last month; I waited until after the second to try to put my thoughts in order. So, continuing with where I had left off --

Zoe Strauss
Zoe Strauss

Special care was taken to involve community groups in and around Pittsburgh with the curators and artists involved in the current exhibit. An apartment was rented in Lawrenceville, where curators and CI!# artists met with selected members of the Pittsburgh arts community. Zoe Strauss (above) set up a portrait studio in Homestead. Transformazium has instigated an Art Lending Collection in Braddock.

Survey shows really are meant to expose trends and not necessarily an individual vision. This survey exhibit covered a lot of ground, showcasing work in several mediums. The artists are from as close as Philadelphia and as far away as China. Some are steeped in the nuances of current art trends while others can easily be categorized as outsider artists. Figurative, abstract, time-based; whatever your preferred form, has their own trends within the larger sphere. A few years go, the term pluralism was used to try to tame the tangle of directions. But it seems now like that term was just a way to make it seem like a fractitious‎ period of art-making had a unifying purpose.

Over the last week, reviews began to roll out for the Whitney Biennial. I was very interested to read what Jerry Saltz had to say. The Whitney Biennial, like CI13, was curated by a team, but included a producing artist along with the professional curators. It made me wonder if CI13 would have been better served if the curatorial team had included somebody whose career wasn't dependent on curating.

CI13 was self-referential, with art and artists chosen that furthered the dialog of the art sphere rather than the expressive value of the art itself. It would have been a pleasure beyond belief to discover a masterwork among the works in the exhibit; something that compelled to action or contemplation. But I think that the art sphere isn't really meant to support that level of work.

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