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  •  REVIEW: DOMESTICARRIVALS: MIAMI-NEW YORK CONNECTION

    Brandon Opalka

Inexplicable 2004 in domesticArrivals: Miami-New York Connection
    Brandon Opalka "Inexplicable" 2004

    Looking for fun in the sun

    Stereotypes unfounded in Miami art at Chelsea's White Box show of domesticArrivals

    By NICK STILLMAN
    Offoffoff.com

    Straight from the press release: domesticArrivals is the first in a series of White Box exhibitions focusing on 'distinct regions and areas'... (emphasis added). Miami has become something of a mythologized contemporary art community to New Yorkers over the past few years. We hear and read stories of cheap, huge spaces and gloriously constant sun, of 'real community' and eager collectors. So one would expect that curators Anat Ebgi and Carla Stillweg would play up Miami's regionalism, making domesticArrivals a show of sun-infused, pastel-heavy, carefree works, with maybe a token piece here and there focusing on Florida's crucial role in the upcoming presidential election, right?

      
    DOMESTICARRIVALS: MIAMI-NEW YORK CONNECTION
    Exhibition: domesticArrivals: Miami-New York Connection.
    Works by: Natalia Benedetti / Francie Bishop Good / Alejandro Cardenas / Cooper / Christian Curiel / n.b. DASH / Jen DeNike / Jacin Giordano / Adler Guerrier / Jason Hedges / Javier Hernandez / Beatriz Monteavaro / Brandon Opalka / Gavin Perry / Vickie Pierre / Ali Prosch / Tao Rey / Leyden Rodriguez-Casanova / Norberto Rodriguez / A.A. Rucci / Tom Scicluna / Frances Trombly /Eugenia Vargas.
     SCHEDULE
    September 9 - October 2, 2004
    Opening reception: September 9, 2004, 6-8

    Gallery: White Box
    525 West 26th Street
    New York NY
    Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11am - 6pm
    Phone: (212) 714-2347

    Nope. Any such supposition proved to be unfounded stereotype, as domesticArrivals could just as easily have been a summer group show of mostly unknown New York artists. Like any and every New York group show seemingly worth its salt these days, there were several doses of neo-psych laced with obligatory overtones of violence. Alejandro Cardenas' ink and gouache drawings depict gun-toting hippies and skeletons wearing junk sculptures. Vickie Pierre's 23 tiny oil paintings felt like mini-Inka Essenhighs, consumed with their own interior formal logic and color balance. Brandon Opalka's expressionistic oil paintings contained a whiff of a palette that felt very Miami — sherbet oranges, lemon yellows, and lime greens — and while admittedly visually luscious, the brushy underwater scenes and horses felt like little more than a formal nod to Franz Marc and late de Kooning.

    Jason Hedges

Untitled (Oil and Vinegar) 2004 in domesticArrivals: Miami-New York Connection  
    Jason Hedges "Untitled" (Oil and Vinegar) 2004
      
    Cooper (yes, just Cooper) was the only of domesticArrivals' artists to directly address American politics. The installation "Same as the last time, except this time no one is listening, because of last time" contained an all-black board on the ground, propped at about a 45 degree angle on top of a hunter green army blanket emblazoned with a 'US' logo. The board concealed a boombox playing ethereal tones, and lying face-up nearby was a small doll — ostensibly a corpse — with a brown paper bag over his head and tissue boxes on his feet, a slit revealing one open eye. The bag-over-the-head gesture is a common one at sporting events, worn by fans whose team is so unbearably bad their supporters are embarrassed to reveal their identity. Is the artist throwing in the towel on what's been an embarrassing year and a half in Iraq for the US of A? It would seem so, and the dual acknowledgement of American soldiers' insane torture tactics of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib is similarly implicit.

    More common was the mining of sexual politics. Jen DeNike's video As Boys Are Wont to Do is dull, yet hypersexualized documentation of two young men splashing and wrestling in a pool. Like in Collier Schorr's photographs, DeNike evinces the thin line between masculine forms of recreation and homosexual overtones, but aside from inverting the male gaze to the male-gazed-upon, this and another similar video of two men lifting weights don't shed much light on homosexuality or the sexual ambiguity of male athletics. A.A. Rucci's haunting paintings of headless women in various states of disrobement felt like a cross between Su-en Wong's icy, sexualized self-portraits and Hilary Harkness' paintings of armies of copulating and laboring women. Rucci's women all appear homogenous, like Wong's and Harkness', and lie pathetically on the ground, limbs entwined like a mob of headless, just-raped Barbies. Against bright, mostly monochromatic backgrounds, you get the feeling that if these paintings could talk, they'd sneer. The violence of Rucci's three canvases is an explicit and effective critique of the power politics of the male gaze.

      
      While scattered pieces in the show felt smart, witty, and relevant to the moment, there wasn't a whole lot that seemed to fit the specifically 'regional' premise the White Box series is gunning for.
      
    Yet while scattered pieces in the show felt smart, witty, and relevant to the moment, there wasn't a whole lot that seemed to fit the specifically 'regional' premise the White Box series is gunning for. What with the huge Basel Art Fair in Miami and constant publicity in art magazines eager to locate alternative hotbeds of artistic activity, it was interesting, if a little disappointing, to find that domesticArrivals resisted overt Miami-centrism. The work felt indelibly American — and another subtle reminder of the force of globalization in today's contemporary art world.

    SEPTEMBER 15, 2004
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


    Reader comments on domesticArrivals: Miami-New York Connection:

  • domestic arrivals   from Bob Smith, Feb 2, 2005

  • Post a comment on "domesticArrivals: Miami-New York Connection"