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Friday, September 19, 2008

Currently Hanging

posted by on September 19 at 10:17 AM

Matt Browning’s Another Sport (2008), yarn from baseballs, cedar, staples; 6 by 9 by 1 inches

At Crawl Space. (Gallery site here.)

It doesn’t look like much at first, maybe a scrap of carpet cut out and mounted on the wall as if it were a painting, apparently stretched over an armature the way a canvas might be. Is it some kind of low-rent hipster take on abstract painting?

It isn’t. It’s made of yarn from baseballs. The artist carefully knitted this little thing. You wouldn’t know he has a background in fiber arts from the rest of his show, full of smart, post-minimalistic, rough-living sculptures—a miniature ski jump that doubles as a limp dick, a beer shot-gunning machine that looks like some sort of birdhouse. The whole thing is really worth seeing, not just this one. This is a young artist to watch.

RSS icon Comments


why does art have to be boring? or use gimmicks in the medium used?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 19, 2008 10:37 AM

a man with a fibre-arts background? i'm sorry, but that's just wierd.

Posted by max solomon | September 19, 2008 10:51 AM

BA: How is the combination of knitting and baseball inherently boring? Also, could you possibly withhold judgment until you actually see the thing? It's flecked with all kinds of color and weird depth you can't see in a JPEG.

And what's gimmicky about baseball yarn? Every medium brings its own world of references. Big deal.

Sorry, but I'm just using your words: It's your comments about art that are boring and gimmicky.

Posted by Jen Graves | September 19, 2008 10:52 AM

I agree with BA @1.

It's boring to look at. You said it yourself, Jen. "It doesn't look like much at first, maybe a scrap of carpet cut out and mounted on the wall as if it were a painting."

I don't care how carefully the artist knitted it or what he made it out of (if he made it out of carpet fiber or yarn, would you care? Is the artist actually trying to say something with the baseball yarn?), it's ugly. Maybe his other work is great, but you said yourself it looks like "some kind of low-rent hipster take on abstract painting." What do you find so great about it?

Posted by N | September 19, 2008 11:04 AM

Here's a tip for sci-fi afficiandos and the demise of the limp dick syndrome currently in discussion for star fighters with lazer beam weaponry...

and of course, all those in favor of tight mini skirted leggings and nipple popping shirts for captains and those reading their tri-corders with phasers on lovegun...

if... and mind you this fluid resevoir is a big if when it comes to sci-fi realists...

you truly see:

The Shoreline Water Towers near Firestation 64 in the Shoreline area of north Seattle.

Minutes from Shoreline Community College by bicycle or footpath, you can find this little hollow and hideaway.

Warning: Placement of your carpet on the fir line pitched floor of the earth may leave you with something sticky to clean off your carpet...or sleeping bag...

and for those in favor of personal listening devices:

Listening Ambience Musical Research Directive suggests...

Dancing With The Moonlit Knight by Genesis.

There, near the underbelly of what appears to be an old set piece from a RODAN Japanese Godzilla battle, is the left over of ( or possibly precurssor to ) Men in Black... 1 and 2,

and maybe the other part of Roswell New Mexico after the reported UFO sightings in and around Mount Rainier in the 1950's.

This is a wonderful place to rest your head and imagine the skyline full of rips and tears in the fabric of time like an echoing voice from a digital cinema graphics powered take-over and awake up call to the minute by minute, seconds out digital morphing of vampire love, we are all going AWAC falling arm star-trek episodes.

It is all so beautiful when considering the spor covered forest and heather covered ground and Seattle's skyline near the EMP and Space Needle.

If you are wired for sound,please be careful when invoking Thor and the Hammer of the Gods in this neighborhood...

as the Crista Ministries is right next door....

Perhaps this is the latest testing site and holding area for a vehicle outward bound from planet earth as we wait to be rapturized.

Exit music for a makeover as you watch the shooting stars?

How about...

There Goes My Hero by the Foo Fighters.

That's easy on the knees... since we are all learning to live with the realities of war, and possibly may still be looking for our cinnamon girls.

Peace be unto you too, brothers and sisters...

and remember if someone is noisy in the spirit, "No Spocking off".

Revelation says somewhere in it's testiment to consider the liles....

and I here ask you to consdier the soundwaves.

Posted by daniel | September 19, 2008 11:12 AM

So in other words this is a piece of carpet hung on a wall like a painting. This is a low-rent hipster tapistry. From the looks of the show I would say this is a hipster to watch.

Posted by Timothy Wind | September 19, 2008 11:14 AM

my comments may be boring but there is hardly a gimmick to them.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 19, 2008 11:15 AM

@1, 4, 6 & 7

Dear ignorant fucks: Please resume staring at your Manet screensaver and let us know when you've read up on 20th-century art. "It's boring to look at" hasn't been a valid or interesting criticism of art for a century, and artists have been making great work that is "ugly" for at least as long.

K thx bye.

Posted by Superfurry Animal | September 19, 2008 11:19 AM

@3 & 8

What is great about this piece? What significance does the baseball yarn have? What significance does its knitted shape have? What is the artist trying to say? Why does it have to look like, put so elegantly by Jen, "some kind of low-rent hipster take on abstract painting?" What about its medium turns it from a low-rent hipster take on abstract painting to something better and more significant? Jen stated that it isn't, but she didn't say why other that the material it's made of.

Posted by N | September 19, 2008 11:32 AM

There is a difference between "CRAFT" and "ART." People have been making yarn out of found objects for as long as there has BEEN found objects. Fuck, I think Martha Stewart had a goddamned SHOW about making yarn out of doo-dads. That scrap =/= art.

Posted by Samantha | September 19, 2008 11:37 AM

superfurry animal, If the only think that elevates this from a normal tapestry hung on a wall to excellent is the novelty and gimmick of the yarn used then I don't really don't care if I have plebian views on art or not.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 19, 2008 11:38 AM

@9 I don't know. Why don't you go to the gallery, look at the piece in person, read up on what the artist is intending to do and then make your mind up rather than dismissing it out of hand because a jpg of it isn't immediately aesthetically appealing?


Posted by Superfurry Animal | September 19, 2008 11:40 AM

This is the greatest work of work since the Mona Lisa.

Posted by jomoama | September 19, 2008 11:41 AM

and if 20th century art is all about novelty of output rather than mastery of form then I don't really care about 20th century art.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 19, 2008 11:41 AM

Not plebeian, Bellevue Ave, ignorant and stupid.

Posted by Superfurry Animal | September 19, 2008 11:43 AM

because calling a gimmick a gimmick is ignorant and stupid.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 19, 2008 11:45 AM

No, because dismissing any art that isn't about "mastery of form" is ignorant and stupid.

Posted by Superfurry Animal | September 19, 2008 11:47 AM

i can just imagine you standing there, unimpressed, and then someone says; "it was made from the yarn of baseballs" and you audibly say "Ooooooooooooooooh".

also, why are you so bent out of shape that people think this is crap? Are you someone that makes similar crap? or did you just go to college to become an expert in it?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 19, 2008 11:48 AM

I can accept that not all art is about that but i can't accept that there is inherent value in something that is only special because of it's medium gimmick.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 19, 2008 11:50 AM

I saw the show. I think it's a brilliant opener for an intriguing artist. It's a spare, thoughtful show centered on ideas about youth, maleness, and sport. It was enough. The objects are each distinct and individual but the sum of the parts makes a great whole. The use of the baseball parts, ski parts and the beer motifs make a perfectly good synthesis of idea and form.

The notes above from those who haven't seen the show make clear why art can't be explained by words.

I think this is an artist to watch.

Posted by lookandsee | September 19, 2008 11:53 AM

Ah, the inevitable troll response: ad hominem attacks. No, BA, I'm not an artist, nor did I study art.

I'm not bent out of shape that people think it's crap. For all I know, it may be crap; I haven't seen it or read about the artist's intentions. My objection is to the idiotic response "it's bad because it's boring to look at." That's like my grandmother responding to a hip-hop song with "it's bad because it's too loud."

Much as you may not like it, contemporary art hasn't been about "mastery of form" (whatever that really means -- I'm assuming you mean technical skill in painting or drawing or sculpting) for a century. You can ignore that and the last 100 years of art history if you choose to, but it certainly doesn't make any opinion you hold on contemporary art remotely worth listening to.

And for people who like to think about art, having to engage inane opinions like yours is tiresome.

Posted by Superfurry Animal | September 19, 2008 11:57 AM

art can't be explained by then why does jen try to do it?

SFA, even in modern art there are masters that move their chosen medium to a position greater than before. Changing the game is a form of mastery.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | September 19, 2008 12:01 PM

@22: "Art can't be explained by words." Shit, someone alert the art historians.

Posted by Gloria | September 19, 2008 12:10 PM

If art can't be explained by words, why do you dismiss it without having seen it in person?

The rest of your comment is pretty much gibberish ("changing the game" means what in this context, exactly?), but if you're not interested in anything other than work made by "masters," you'll miss 99 percent of the interesting art out there. Which is your prerogative, just don't muck up other people's attempts at an interesting conversation with your drivel.

Posted by Superfurry Animal | September 19, 2008 12:17 PM

"It's your comments about art that are boring and gimmicky."

Irony, thy name is Jen Graves.

Posted by Puh-leeeeeeeeese | September 19, 2008 12:25 PM

Bellevue Avenue: Art so 'boring' you just had to spend the last two hours of your life commenting on it? The spirited exchange this work has incited is a testament to its quality. Like it or not Bellevue Avenue, this is art NOW. Be prepared to see a lot more from this talented young man.

Posted by markiepostalservice | September 19, 2008 12:33 PM

To paraphrase an idea from Tom Wolfe's "The Painted Word," does the art exist merely to illustrate the text?

Posted by Betsy Ross | September 19, 2008 1:03 PM


Posted by teambruce | September 19, 2008 1:28 PM

I skipped the Genius Awards to be at Crawl Space for the opening. The artist was in the gallery on a bicycle which was attached to a generator. He was pedaling furiously to charge a battery that was powering a large refrigerator that was packed to the gills with classic Coors Beer.
As a first solo exhibition, the show is an eye opener. Each piece has a conceptual skeleton which unifies the entire exhibition in a cohesive way. The work is not all surface but imbued with substance.

Posted by Steven Vroom | September 19, 2008 2:41 PM

For me, an artist to watch would be one who was naked and super-hot.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | September 19, 2008 3:58 PM

I've been following Matt's work since he was an undergrad at UW. I enjoy it because he brings back to art things that I think have been missing. The toil involved in creating his pieces becomes a part of his work. All of his pieces take months of effort. He stripped the guts out of dozens of baseballs to make this. The piece is not about looking pretty. The insides of baseballs are not designed to be aesthetically pleasing. It's designed to highlight an element of the masculine experience, which you would know if you actually went to the opening. The elements of the masculine challenge are pretty obvious not just in his choice of material, but in the fact that he sets out Herculean tasks for himself in every piece. To criticize it as being "ugly" is completely irrelevant. It's not about looking good. It's a little more complex than that. It's important to criticize, but please, try to put a little more effort into it. Matt certainly put alot into this show.

Posted by Melrose Ave | September 19, 2008 4:34 PM

@30, maybe you missed the comment right before yours. OK, so he wasn't naked, but he is hot and he was certainly sweaty from all that pedaling.
I agree with the commenter who said the brilliance of the show was in the gestalt of the disparate objects, each of which represented the fruition of a labor of love in some way. Also, I'm with Jen on this...the JPEG doesn't do this particular piece justice, as there is all kinds of color and variety and yes, history in the process and the material itself--all of which makes for a visually compelling object. I also believe that mastery of form trumps mere intellectual posturing any day, and I like Matt's work precisely because he combines smart insight with painstaking craft.
Bellevue Ave, I have yet to read a Slog comment from you that is either insightful or thought provoking. Perhaps you enjoy being a devil's advocate and starting arguments, pretending to yourself that they are discussions? I am curious to know what kind of artwork you don't find "boring."

Posted by Emily | September 19, 2008 5:21 PM

So really, the issue is that Jen's post sucks. She makes "Another Sport" sound like just another example of an artist copying a craft and pretending they've created something new.

Don't blame people for responding to what you wrote, Jen. And don't act like people have to go to the show before they earn the right to respond to you.

Steven Vroom and Melrose Ave describe the show in a way that gives it so much more scope and depth. I question whether the Herculean effort expended in creating something has much to do with its ultimate artistic worth. But you guys have intrigued me enough that I might see for myself.

Posted by Rhiannon | September 19, 2008 5:42 PM

Come on, "Currently Hanging" is more or less off the cuff, simply to help expose art, well, currently hanging. I haven't studied Jen's comments in these posts, but I get the impression she even chooses art she's not particularly excited by. This is all good; "Currently Hanging" is a supplement to the text-only listings. I'm just saying that I don't imagine Jen holding herself to the same standards in these posts. (Jen will now respond with "What?!")

Posted by dvnms | September 22, 2008 9:08 AM

It's interesting how phrases like "nice to look at" are being tossed around. I, in fact, find this piece nice to look at. Isn't there such a thing as conceptual beauty?

Posted by Sue Talksaboutart | September 22, 2008 9:46 AM

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