Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tom Burr at Bortolami


This Holiday season pick up several copies of John Waters and Bruce Hainley's Art: A Sex Book as the perfect-for-pretty-much-anyone gift. Friends, family, even enemies will be delightfully displeased by the vulgarity, and any extras to be kept pre-wrapped in your office all year as impromptu gifts for occasions you forgot.  There's something for everyone inside including a lovely short conversation between the authors on Burr, and the latent uses of architectural forms, objects of ulterior services.

Until your copy arrives tide your yule with George Baker's "The Other Side of the Wall" a primary essay on Burr online here.

"Besides objecting to the sculpture’s interference with the way the plaza functioned, Titled Arc’s detractors were prone to fantasizing about the life of Serra’s sculpture at night, about the graffiti and public urination that it seemed to attract, attributing larger social problems to its form [...] Upon its first exhibition in Germany, Deep Purple was positioned by Burr in such a way as to exacerbate the functions for which Tilted Arc was originally vilified. Sited in order to create a pocket of empty space between the museum and a hedgerow that serves as a border between the museum and an adjacent public park [...]

"What, one might ask, does Burr’s Camp vision of sculpture do to Minimalism? My list is partial (as this project cannot be said to be concluded, and has only gained strength in Burr’s most recent works): Camp fixates on the Minimalist object’s surface. It makes Minimalism purple. Or it makes it shiny. Or, if it keeps the black-and-white neutrality, or retains the naked industrial material, it makes Minimalism all butch and sexy, often by comparing it, via photo-works, to icons of excessive masculinity like Jim Morrison. Camp might then value Minimalist surfaces as “superficial,” but it also invests these surfaces in depth: Camp likes Minimalism’s fakeness, revels in its extreme challenge to nature. Camp turns Minimalism into theater, into so many duplicitous stage sets ripe for the enactment of “drama.” Camp takes a Minimalist form and makes a bar of it, throws an imaginary party around it. Camp makes Minimalism festive. Camp turns Minimalism into objects of decor, into furniture or things to be used. Camp here means smoking a cigarette and snubbing it out dramatically in the rakish ashtray placed on top of a Minimalist form. Camp sees Minimalist geometries and refuses their abstraction, linking them instead to fashion, say, or to glamour—as when Burr’s Deep Purple took Serra’s “arc” and shrunk it, exhibiting it first in an exhibition called Low Slung, as if the form evoked a plunging waistline, the curvaceous splendor of a pair of low-rise pants, some new form of sartorial Minimalism. Sontag again: “Camp is the attempt to do something extraordinary. But extraordinary in the sense, often, of being special, glamorous. (The curved line, the extravagant gesture)” (284). Camp values Minimalism and the avant-garde more generally for their extremism, their naiveté, their artificiality and failures. It pays special attention to the moments when the Minimalist object was torn down or censored, or to Minimalist artists who were rejected (by their critics, by their peers—i.e., Tony Smith) or who died young (Robert Smithson). [...] Camp focuses on the Minimalists who were macho, or sometimes phobic (Donald Judd), exposing And, above all else, Camp simply adores the fact that Minimalism, in perhaps one of its greatest failures, thought it could escape the condition of subjectivity altogether—Camp really thinks this is so cute (and so sad)—for Camp is nothing if not an extreme exacerbation of subjectivity, sensibility, taste..."