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"Art Groupie"
...An Art Addict's View

no. 3, december 3rd 2001


The first "piece" that I saw was a model of a house protruding from the wall. To accent the paper cutout house, the artist drew a diagram of an atom, in pencil on construction paper. Then, I proceeded to the bathroom, and I only mention this trip because, to my surprise, there was art in the bathroom. It was a video of "Pretty in Pink," but all the dialogue had been spliced and it was a continuous stream of Molly Ringwald's lines, with no interruption (the artist went so far as to eliminate the spaces between her words.) So, the movie was approximately seven minutes in length and the artist looped the film so that it played, without interruption, the entire night. I was intrigued because, as I interpreted the film, it struck me that throughout the movie, Molly Ringwald changes her outfit a total of ten times and speaks for only seven minutes. Well, it is a John Hughes film.

Sufficed to say, in every show, there is a piece too disturbing to watch in its' entirety. In this particular video, the artist demonstrated the four stages of self-destruction. I will spare you the details but the video incorporated fake blood, scissors and phallic symbols. Other than these striking, thought-provoking works, there was nothing else of particular interest to me. The model and diagram were, I would assume, the last resort for an artist with a deadline.

The "Pretty in Pink" video was merely amusing in its' statement against 80s films. I wouldn't quite label it art (although the definition is art is extremely skewed), nonetheless, I have never experienced a work so aptly installed in an art space. The mildly entertaining, if only for its' absurdity, video on self-destruction seemed to exploit the "shock art" trend ( unfortunately, shock art seems to be on its way out.) Most likely, the artist wanted to incite a surge of emotion from the viewer. In my case, she succeeded such that it confirmed my distaste for videos handled in such a manner.

The other patrons of this seedy bar in the East Village, glanced at each piece of art for, I would say, thirty seconds, and continued in a night of social merriment, aka drinking and smoking. Actually, the main attraction was the pool table which, was situated in the middle of the bar and prompted social interaction with the artists' and the artists' friends. I can only imagine how long the event would of lasted if there were no pool table or alcohol.

The artists in this show propped up their art in a bar in an effort to gain, what, exposure?. Now, I am confused. Well, everyone at the bar knew each other and were already familiar with the art on display. The principle reason for gallery shows is exposure, whereby, artists can tap into an isolated and restrictive art market. As I see it, these artists are using this "show" as a stepping stone. Right now, the show could be an excuse for a group of artists to have fun, the end...

by Melissa Smith
for Popportraits.com

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