Thursday, January 30, 2020

Jonathan Monk at CCA Tel Aviv


Before the internet, in 2008, there was a show called Who's Afraid of Jasper Johns? created by Gavin Brown and Urs Fischer at Tony Shafrazi gallery. The previous exhibition was photographed and printed back onto the walls (at 1:1 scale) and Gavin and Urs' new show was hung over the image. (There was also a shag white Stingel carpet throughout the space, a false waterfall tainted with viagra running down flights of stairs.)* It was bad taste toasted in an era of good taste, in 2008, just on the cusp of the hyperweb of Dispersion and hegemony of the image, a documentation overload which we were just getting our first taste of and making the exhibition feel titillating, looking over a cliff. Which we were. Looking back at it, the exhibition looks sorta bland. Exhibition documentation vertigo is both just the water of our current digital era, swimming is all we do now, but also, maybe you just had to be there. Maybe by embracing all the most nauseous parts of the digital they become wards against it.

*The show traded conceptual decorum for psychedelia, and as such became something of lightning rod of opinion. It seemed a celebration of excess, seemingly riffing on Christian Leigh's notorious Silent Baroque with its whole gluttony ordeal and quasi-hijacked gallery. There was also some irreverent metatextual stuff going on as well, Shafrazi gallery being its own character, sort of culminating in a story of the dinner's cake.