I took some pictures of Roussel's installation over the weekend, and I've posted them below. The "Lifes of Grass" sculptures are definitely the show-stoppers, but the carbon paper cut-outs and small pots of grass are also must-sees. The jars of human-plant fluids is interesting and well-conceived, and the red watercolor paintings are pretty but the exhibit would be just as strong without them. I was on my way to see "Homo Arboretum," the outdoor sculpture that the paintings are studies for, but I got rained out. I'll post some pictures of it when I go back, because it looked really great from a distance.
The plant-based work is meant to change and decay during the time it's at the gallery, so repeat viewing is the way to go. The exhibit is up through May 13, and I'll be writing a feature on Roussel in an upcoming issue of the Scene.
If you want an idea of what kind of night I was in for when I bought my ticket to The House by the Cemetery two Fridays ago, consider this: the first thing I saw when I entered the 1966 hall was a topless lady being cut by a razor blade, while a German voiceover narrated something about a serial killer. Damn, Belcourt, way to gently lower your audience into the sticky morass of exploitation cinema.
After a month of dubious comedies, The Belcourt's midnight movie series returned to horror-movie form by showing Lucio Fulci's 1981 tale of a haunted house, a deranged monster man and what may be the worst voice acting ever committed to celluloid. The House by the Cemetery is the kind of movie that deserves to be shown in the middle of the night, not because it's scary (it isn't) but because it's so gratuitous and maddening that only sleep deprivation can put you in the right mindset for the Italian bloodbath that awaits you.
By Saturday, those of us who had faithfully attended each and every fashion show were feeling a little worse for the wear, partially due to the fact that most of us subsided on wine and Sour Patch Kids all week. Fortunately, a savior was delivered at just the right time, and to The Mall at Green Hills, no less: Tim Gunn, beloved Project Runway mentor and fashion and etiquette guru. Gunn hosted a fashion show at the mall featuring Liz Claiborne (for which he is chief creative officer) brands Kate Spade, Lucky Brand and Juicy Couture. In addition to highlighting current trends like mixing different scales of patterns and brights, Tim and his co-host Leah explained the basics of how to dress different body types, focusing on how to make the current trends wearable. I secretly wished I had invited some friends and family to this one!
Nickel History: In The Service of Ghosts by Tony Fitzpatrick at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans. It was amazing. Beautiful little etchings that hold a lot of symbolic resonance. You have to get real intimate with these etchings to really appreciate them. Great line work, amazing color.
What's the last show that surprised you? Why?
Is it lame that I can't think of an answer to this?
What's your favorite place to see art in Nashville?
The Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. This space is an almost surefire space to see interesting and well-realized work. It's a nice-sized space that can contain an artist's vision well.
Where are you finding ideas for your work these days?
Too hard to limit this. I never really shop for ideas in one place. I find ideas from all over the place: nature, dreams, relationships, flea markets, digging in the dirt, mental wanderings, music.
Do you collect anything?
I have a smattering of old colored plastic telephones that I love, but mostly I collect 78 rpm records and old record players. I love hearing the history of music from the actual shellac records played on the appropriate record player from its corresponding decade. If I listen a record from the ’30s, I like to hear what it would have really sounded like to the person that heard it back then, with all the scratches and audio limitations that are inherent in older technologies.
Yesterday we posted a picture of Harmony Korine on the set of his new film Spring Breakers, and now this! The Hollywood Reporter just posted this trailer for The Fourth Dimension, a series of three films by three directors — Korine, Aleksei Fedorchenko, and Jan Kwiecinski. It's auto-tuned weirdness, and I can't wait to see Val Kilmer in the role that he seems to have been born to play — a schleppy motivational speaker who looks like a molesty version of The Dude.
A few highlights:
If you feel that the sexual revolution destroyed the American family by giving women power over their reproductive choices, and that power turned daughters and wives, by and large, into a bunch of wanton hussies, well, stew over your feelings all you want, but you might as well give up thinking that it is possible to herd us up and drive us back into the kitchen—which, depending on how many revolutions have offended you, might be a kitchen with a washboard and cake of soap or a smoke house featuring a picture of King George. ...
The sexual revolution, which rode into town on the backs of those pink plastic cases of birth-control pills, was, after all, not so much a matter of sleeping around as it was of having the ability to decide when you were going to have a child, and then deciding how many children you wanted to have. For me, it meant the freedom to choose not having children at all. It was a quiet use of a revolution, but a completely appropriate one. I never wanted children and therefore doubted I would be a great parent. Perhaps a few more people who don't want children and feel that they wouldn't be great parents could consider following my lead. You can have my birth-control pills when you pry them out of my cold, dead hands....
Reproduction is the very purpose of life on earth. No matter which aspects of the act and its consequences are debated, mandated, outlawed or rolled back, sex will keep on keeping on. So for those who remain bitter about the revolution and wish it had never happened, join hands with the likes of me, who see the rights and freedoms of women as the only possible outcome for a thinking society. Together, let's make a country into which any baby would be proud to be born.
Read the whole piece here.
Naturally, Patchett's piece had quite a few members of WSJ's largely conservative readership foaming at the mouth. Some comment highlights, after the jump ...
That's what Hans Schmitt-Matzen's "Anthology" painting at Cheekwood reminded me of — it's a similar color spectrum, but it's also kind of psychedelic. The multicolored spines of library books are oversized and staggered, like a rhythmic visual pulse that can make you feel claustrophobic in the comparatively tiny gallery space. It's too much to take in all at once from such a close perspective — that's what makes this installation of the piece so perfect. It's a single painting that fills up the space so completely that you have to divide it into sections (or run fast enough to make it blur) in order to see the whole thing.
I took some photos while I was there — all of which ended up being detail shots because, like I said, the piece was too big to fit in a single frame from inside the gallery. M Kelley wrote a review of the piece in Art Now Nashville, and you can view the full painting there. The work is up at Cheekwood through Sept. 3.
I'll admit it: I once found myself in a fancy art-talk conversation about Nick Cave, not realizing that everyone else was talking about Nick Cave the artist, and I was talking about Nick Cave the musician. (At least I didn't start dropping Nick Cage references though, right? "How'd you like that Con-Air, Mr. Gagosian?")
But one look at the work Chicago-based artist, dancer and performer Cave has under his belt (sometimes literally), and I transferred all of my love and admiration for one Nick Cave right on over to the other. Sure, I still enjoy "The Mercy Seat" as much as the next guy, but artist Nick Cave has serious chops: His Soundsuits are some of the most original — and most exciting — art pieces around. New York Times critic Roberta Smith has this to say about Cave's work: "Whether Nick Cave's efforts qualify as fashion, body art or sculpture, and almost regardless of what you ultimately think of them, they fall squarely under the heading of Must Be Seen to Be Believed."
Cave will be in Nashville to give a lecture at Lipscomb on April 2, and I haven't been this excited about a visiting artist since Trenton Doyle Hancock spoke at Vanderbilt last month. (Here's a warning: University campuses are notoriously difficult to navigate for the uninitiated. If you're anything like me, give yourself plenty of time to get lost, ask for directions, find parking, and then get lost again.) If you're familiar with Cave's work, you'll likely already have this event on your calendar. And if you're not, there's lots of time to research his work and become a Cave convert as well. I've tried to make it easy for you by including a bunch of his Soundsuits after the jump. I'm trying to save you the embarrassment of questioning why The Death of Bunny Munro deserves its own art talk.
If you've got a great collection and want to show it off, fill out their online application by March 31 — that's this Saturday. (The caveat that all collections must be family-friendly makes me wonder what kinds of stuff they've had to deal with in the past.) And if you're a stuff-voyeur like me, mark your calendars for May 19 when the public exhibition takes place.
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That clip is horrifying. It looks like postmortem makeup. Very uncanny valley.
AGGGHHHH that last picture!