Virginia Overton, Untitled (pipes), 2012. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Virginia Overton’s habit of using unexpected objects to challenge our experiences of a particular space would seem well suited to the Kitchen. Yet the five sculptures she presents in this exhibit—made from steel pipes, two-by-fours, pedestals and other items collected behind the scenes at this venerable nonprofit—don’t greatly alter our sense of the institution, though they do reflect on the relevance of Minimalism today.
In the past, Overton’s sculptures have sometimes involved startling incongruences, but the pieces here—like a collection of well-used rigging poles propped against the wall and lit to create an elegant installation—look more attractive than out of place. Others carry on a more overt conversation with 1960s Minimalist art, such as the strongly spotlit, diagonally wall-mounted steel bar that recalls a Flavin fluorescent tube, or the floor-bound array of creaky two-by-fours that noisily raise one’s awareness of his or her footsteps, à la Carl Andre.
These two pieces and others touch on Minimalism’s penchant for interacting with or altering the exhibition space, but Overton ostensibly wants to elicit a deeper understanding of the venue’s identity (in this case, as a gallery and a theater). By quoting Minimalist aesthetics, she brings to mind concerns with light, space and viewer participation, all topics clearly relevant to the Kitchen’s history as a performance center. Considering the highly experimental nature of that history, however, Overton could have taken more risks, instead of just settling for tasteful arrangements.
Join art critic, college teacher and tour guide, Merrily Kerr on a small group tour of the biggest museum show of the season, the Whitney Biennial. Find out why critics are calling ‘the show everyone loves to hate,’ one of the best ever.
In early May, Merrily will guide you to the best Chelsea gallery shows of the moment, including a jungle gym-like installation composed of crocheted netting and plastic balls by Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto and the late Richard Avedon’s monumental photo murals.
‘Best of the Whitney Biennial,’ Sunday, April 29, 2012, 11:30am – 1pm
“Artists are taking matters into their own hands,” says New York magazine critic Jerry Saltz, “…resetting the agenda, and fighting back against an art world that had been focused on selling, buzz and bigness.” Join Merrily to find out what the buzz is about on a small group tour focusing on the visual art in a show dense with performance and film.
SPACE IS LIMITED to the first six participants to register with Merrily by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Meet in the lobby of the Whitney Museum, (945 Madison Ave at 75th Street). Please purchase tickets prior to the day of our tour at whitney.org or arrive at least 20 minutes in advance to purchase a ticket to this extremely popular show. The museum opens at 11am and the tour departs at 11:30am. $40 pp in cash or check on the day. Does not include museum admission ($18 general admission, $12 seniors 62+).
‘Best Contemporary Art in Chelsea,’ Saturday, May 5, 2012, 11am – 1pm
Our itinerary will showcase eight of the most important and talked about exhibitions of the moment, including an energizing mix of artwork in different media by emerging talents and internationally acclaimed artists.
With space limited to ten or fewer participants, Merrily’s small group tours are an intimate exploration of New York’s best art. At each venue, Merrily gives information on the galleries themselves and the artwork on display – questions and conversation are encouraged!
This tour will last two hours and take place regardless of the weather.
SPACE IS LIMITED to the first ten participants to register with Merrily at email@example.com. Meet at 508 West 26th Street. Tour departs at 11am. $40 pp in cash or check on the day.