I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and likely again), around these parts inactive blogging is usually a sign of activity, elsewhere.
such has surely been the case these just-over two weeks I have been back since my summer holidays.
my first full 24 hours back home was burdened by a futile attempt to start cleaning our home from a potential (one could say inevitable given the nature of our living setup and lifestyles) bedbug infestation. it appears this past summer that a temporary subletter brought upon us a very permanent problem, something that has recently really been plaguing NYC and tearing homes and living situations apart (NYTimes article from 2005 Nov).
But the title of this post is not concerned with those politics!
Rather, it’s in reference to the hundred-plus openings from the past week in Chelsea and around the rest of New York City, proving the impossibility of seeing it all, taking it all in (not as if the openings are for the work anyhow). Plus-plus impossible if you are involved with a show yourself, as was the case with Crater NY, and being stuck in your one venue, and away from the mob scene that was likely in Chelsea and other places. Okay so I missed the big night, the 6th, when around 100 exhibitions opened and a couple thousand litres of wine got served, sunk and spewed, so I thought I’d venture out on the 7th after work, and nip in to whatever I saw was open and interesting (going by the crowd there).
So I headed over to Roebling Hall because I like Roebling Hall and think they have consistent shows and they’re not in the thick of Chelsea but off to the side and near that incredible industrial building on 11th Ave (between 26th and 27th, west side of street). it’s been a while but I like to think that I’m walking over there and not over there where everybody else is. Anyhow their opening was a show that sounded interesting but which I really didn’t know what to expect, by David Ersser called Nothing But Heavy Duty (sorry Roebling Hall I have to point to artcal because you use frames in your website, so I can’t link to anything!).
Sure enough, it was interesting:
(Makita? Milwaukee? ain’t no DeWalt that’s for sure!)
(ahh, he’s a quick-release bit kinda guy!)
The approach to the work was a good start, a half-completed stud wall where real screws were needed to hold it all together but included facsimile screw notches of sorts to suggest another anchorage. One wall wasn’t even hung, but merely leaning on the studs. Immediately you knew you would be dealing with something that questioned your sensibilities about ‘what is complete here?’ The room inside the room included power tools like a chopsaw and circular saws, power screwdrivers of various dispositions, makes and models, screw bits, caulking guns, ladders and even the presence of ‘raw wood’ sheets and sawdust suggesting activity but which could have been fabricated itself.
I left rather pleased, but was already mulling over the thought in my head, “What is art supposed to say to me?”
What are artists these days trying to say to the public with their work? What are they trying to accomplish? What is their message? What class do they belong to? etc.
As I walked back towards the throngs of Chelsea that were starting to gather – fashionably late like – I stumbled upon Ersser’s competition: life.
And the difficulty of it.
It was hard to tell what was going on here, and unlike so much art that is what made it interesting. Strange that it was less than a block away from Ersser’s installation, and thinking of Ersser’s show in relation to this space, but here was the real thing: detritus lived, worked and abandoned.
Materials from umbrellas to baby strollers, from luggage cases to Multi-Function Printers, lay strewn about, with several wardrobes thrown around for good measure. Where did all of this stuff come from, and who left it all here? The fence was bent, there was an entryway, someone wanted to get in and out of here. When it wasn’t a parking lot that is, this plot of asphalt that has no doubt seen its real estate value increase ten-fold over the past couple decades.
As I turned to continue walking it was a simple blip. Having just taken in Ersser’s show, and then contemplating that abandoned plot, I simply felt I didn’t need to see anything else, one opening was plenty.
Several of my friends have cringed from thinking about how to take in as many openings as possible, how to schmooze the scene and be in too many places at one time. But me, I’m a little pessimistic this time around. I’m burdened by real troubles to the point that I’m not so certain what it’s all for anymore. My only comfort was the thought of going home and making some art.