Arts Grimmer Party
posted by February 28 at 11:28 AMon
As the Brooklyn Museum prepares to open its Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art on March 23, with Judy Chicago’s 1979 installation The Dinner Party permanently installed as its centerpiece,
a nod to Chicago passed through Christie’s auction house on Monday night. It was LA artist Jim Shaw’s 2003 The Donner Party, a dark pioneer parody which had never before been seen in the United States. It outsripped its estimate ($400,000 to $600,000), selling for $656,000.
The piece was part of an exhibition on Shaw’s invented Oism religion, a goddess-based theology supposedly invented in the Finger Lakes region of New York in the 19th century. The Donner Party, then, was “made by” Oist artist Mandy Omaha, and it includes references to characters real and fictional. In the place of Chicago’s triangular dinner table is Omaha’s circling of 12 covered wagons, transpierced by arrows, each one the base for place settings made up of thrift-store junk. Religion consumes.
(In the Christie’s catalog description of the piece, this is my favorite sentence: “Like the members of the Donner party, Jim Shaw emigrated to California from the Midwest and went on to become one of the major figures associated with the West Coast school of installation art and Cal Arts in particular.” I knew those installation artists were cannibals.)
Also for sale was the installation Flying Rats by Kader Attia, in which pigeons feast on children made of birdseed for days (check out this week’s Talk of the Town piece on it by Rebecca Mead). The Henry Art Gallery is working on a major exhibition with Attia that will include new and old work, set to open a year from now.
(Hat tip to Liz.)