Monday, March 5, 2012

henryville, louisville, KMAC and back

we drove to louisville today to tear down the KMAC sponsored work we had hanging at Heine Bros at westport village.  we left at 8:30 am because i promised mindy we'd eat sushi (i've not been into it much lately).  we stopped at the new studio and picked up some tools then got a bite of food and some coffee at k dees.  i knew we'd drive passed the exit for henryville on the way, but i couldn't remember where it was along I-65S.

snow covered trees

we began in the bright sunlight glaring blind across the lightly frosted windshield.  we hit indy then bloomington then the clouds and trees weighed down by snow.  short spot sunlight and greys.  cream and pure white. black of the road and the sound of passing cars.  pretty.  then the henryville exit.

henryville, indiana

mindy was napping in the navigator seat when i woke her up with an uncontrollable WHAOA!  devestation.  the huge tornadoes that killed a bunch of people here and have been across the news for the last several days must have run directly across this overpass.  you can see a visible line across the landscape of trees fully rooted lying in the space between the exit lane and the interstate. the row of trees broken in half. the billboards and barns flat on the ground covered in a soft white snow.  cop lights and brake lights.  people going 40mph passed the exit and sniffing the surroundings.  holy shit.  this is just a glimmer of the devastation and it is an almost absurd sight.

we got into louisville with no traffic problems across the I-64, I-71, I-65 bottleneck bullshit that is entering louisville, missed our first exit then found an alternate way to mikato off of breckenridge lane.  we were the first customers arriving at open at 11am.  we sat and chatted knowing we had plenty of time before we had to tear down at 1:00 pm.  we had the usual miso and salad and ordered a tray of sashimi and a couple of rolls to share.  the thing i love about mikato here in louisville is how they cut the fish.  thick.  i hate thin sliced fish folded in half or lumped dead and translucent across a clump of rice.  i like mikato, so while i haven't had a taste for sushi lately, it was quite nice to eat a piece of fresh cool fish.

after lunch we headed to heine bros to tear down the show.  we got there a bit early so i ordered a coffee  (not bad.  k dees was better at 8:30).  then we spoke with KMAC corporate art director, ann drury, who convinced us we MUST stop in and see the new show at the museum.  she was totally right.  totally right.


Kentucky Musuem of Arts and Crafts has a very cool space.  it is a couple of old buildings on main street in downtown louisville.  the first thing you see when you walk in is the museum shop.  but the first thing we saw today was the windows.  the current show begins in the street, with a graffiti inspired mural across the windows of KMAC.  it is best viewed from across the street though where you can take in more of the entirety of the image.  the main gallery space runs across the first floor and up the stairs to the 2nd.  then the third floor houses an educational studio space and 2 more galleries, one that typically features works from the permanent collection.

Into the Mix
the current show is entitled into the mix.  it features several post-modern works by artists from the caribbean.  the works ranged from hodge podge duchampian sculptures from recycled materials obviously collected from the beach by an artist named blue curry to the simple stop-action animation drawings of sheena rose.

the thing that kept popping into my mind after seeing the work was the concept of place/identity.  i really believe that art comes from a place as much as it comes from a person and all of these works are evident of that.  the first floor housed a video of 2 bottles balancing awkwardly on an all white backdrop.  eventually they fall and disrupt the silence of the gallery space with a clang that makes you feel like you backed into a priceless something or other.

the 2nd floor met us with an army of prints on paper glued to cardboard and standing on the two feet of a couple of paper clips.  one simple image.  repeated continuously and constructed simply.  awesome.  then i saw the videos of sheena rose.  they immediately reminded me of the 2011 oscars animation short nominee madagascar travel journal.

Sheena Rose, Cloth Store, 2010.

rose had created 4 videos using stop motion animation to tell simple stories in line drawing.  a couple of the subsequent drawings accompanied the videos.  but the animation is what was spectacular.  it was done very simply with just stop action and very few frames per sec and they are outstanding.  the use of collage and rythms of lines tell her stories is such an accessible way.

one interactive installation, by janine antoni, featured long links of braided pieces of rags and pieces of junk fabric.  it asks the audience to follow simple guidelines to add a link, braided from a cache of trash fabric into a long and winding link at your feet.  i, of course, couldn't resist.  so i made my link from a grey and white piece of shirt and a dark blue piece that still had the collar clinging to it, and a piece of plastic bag.

this show commented eloquently on stereotypes of different caribbean cultures using a found-object-folkiness, which was of course the point.  but the beauty the works have, hold them above their readable meanings.  the works are wonderful to experience and interact with.  they consider the everyday.  and they do it in such a way that it makes the everyday artful, which again, is the point.

baby krishna
Wendy Nanan, The Baby Krishna Series, 2011.

gully godz
Ebony G. Patterson, Gully Godz in Conversation I, 2010.  mixed media tapestry.

after saying good bye to some of our friends at KMAC we headed back to west lafayette for the memorial for our friend george who passed away over the weekend.  mindy knew him far better than i did.  i had only met him probably 10 times or so.  but i can honestly say that george was the type of man that after meeting him once you know who he was and what he was about.  his memorial was at Harry's Chocolate Shop, Purdue University's most famous landmark, with friends and family toasting his life, in the warm glow laughter and a glass of beer.

cheers george, til we meet again.

west lafayette
George and his wife, Mary. George worked at Harry's in the late 1950s.

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