Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Pardon Me... | A Moment in Crime »

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In/Visible Is Up: Artists of the Apocalypse Speak

posted by on June 25 at 14:49 PM


That there is Matthew Day Jackson’s Chariot II (I Like America and America Likes Me) (2008), the centerpiece of the Henry Art Gallery’s new show The Violet Hour. It’s made of a Skip Nichols race car (crashed/Corvette), steel, wool, felt, leather, stained glass, fluorescent light tubes, solar panels, fiberglass, and plastic.

Like Jackson’s other two works in the show, this one is a glorious thing to look at and look at and keep looking at. It’s also full of associations in and outside of art—the first to come to mind are Richard Prince’s treatments of upstate New York, Beuys’s plane crash and rescue by the Tartars, and stained-glass windows that survive in bombed-out cathedrals. Traditional Western art and pioneer stories are swirling around, too: the driver’s seat is made from a leather cowboy saddle, and set in the passenger’s seat like an eerie mask is a reflective astronaut’s helmet wrapped in gray felt. Oh, and the entire sculpture is solar-powered.

That’s the “shattered” windshield of the car.

There’s the cowboy saddle and the space helmet inside the car.

The Violet Hour is a remarkably entertaining show for being so simultaneously grim. Jen Liu’s videos feature Pink Floyd standards sung in Latin plainchant, Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” performed by a community brass band and performed as an operatic aria for a soprano, cannibalism, brutalist architecture, and pretty young men. In Croatian artist David Maljkovic’s videos, young people in a post-communist daze linger under the burdensome, overpowering modernist architecture of the Italian Pavilion of the Zagreb Fair, loitering in and around cars that have been immobilized.

The overlapping themes in the show reveal themselves continually: cars, architecture, nature, text, religion, crystalline forms. It’s a show in which you can do plenty of mental work while also having a great time.

Talking to the artists (except Maljkovic, who had to remain in Croatia with his wife, who’s expecting) was much the same experience.

Have a listen.

RSS icon Comments


Brian from down the way here in Portland.

Matt was an artist in residence here at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art with a commissioned new piece for the 2006 Time-Based Art Festival. He built a cannon out of an old pillar with wooden Brancusi-inspired heads for cannon balls and we dragged a whole tree out of the Willamette River via jetski for him to work on for a show called "Paradise Now."

From the catalog: "Jackson presents a proposal for the beginning of a post-apocalyptic earth in which the wrongs of our past can be rectified. The exhibition will take the form of an installation including photographs, sculpture and drawing. While in residence at PICA, the artist researched the Multnomah Falls myth, collected images of anthropomorphic land masses, and constructed a new vision of mother nature in the hopes to re-order the world. Repurposing image, iconic symbols and craft from varied mythologies, American history and Modern Art, Jackson creates hybrid portraits of martyrs slain and sacrificed. Myth and man meet head on as he expunges the sins of the past while wrestling history's demons to the ground."

He's pretty awesome. Amazing artist. Amazing work. Glad to see he's continuing his great work!

Time-Based Art is Happening.
09:04:08 - 09:14:08

Posted by Brian Costello | June 25, 2008 9:39 PM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.