Monday, October 12, 2009

Art: New York Minute

Not long ago, I witnessed history. A new exhibit called, "New York Minute," opened at the MACRO Future Museum in Rome, Italy. The opening was unlike anything I've ever seen. When I arrived, the line started at the front gates, snaked through the piazza and ended in the middle of a busy street. Traffic was backed up for miles. After two hours and a pint of beer, I finally made it inside...the courtyard, that is. I then navigated through a sea of drunk people and finally made it into the exhibit. The gallery space was crowded, chaotic, and confusing-- kind of like a packed New York subway car (surprising?). The whole scene was a New-York-art-world frenzy, and the Romans loved it! As I ducked in and out of the tide of glamorously dressed women and Italian artist-hipsters, I caught a glimpse of some pretty sweet art. Curated by Kathy Grayson, the show was comprised of 60 artists, all based in New York City. While 60 artists was a lot to see and too much to talk about, I'd like to recommend my favorites.

Taylor McKimens had a great painting in the show that seemed to explored the idea of isolation within an urban wilderness. McKimens' style is very graphic, almost cartoonish, but very compelling. The way he layers his brush strokes often brings out a beautiful, gritty texture on the substrate. At the same time, his use of subjective line is impeccable. The combination of these seemingly disparate elements creates imagery that is crazily suspended between the second and third dimensions of space. This complex style is juxtaposed by McKimens' apparently mundane subject matter-- a garden hose, a backyard, a cactus, a woman sitting on her apartment floor. However, there's something unnerving about how these objects and scenes are rendered. They appear old, filthy, forgotten, and on the verge of falling apart. At the same time, they appear so familiar. In all of McKimens' work, I see a connection between the threadbare world he creates and the inherent frailty of human existence.

Overall, the show is kind of a mixed bag, but it's definitely worth exploring. So if you're passing through Rome anytime soon you should check out the show-- it will be up until the 1st of November, 2009. If you can't make it, you should go here.

Here are some other artists I wish I had time to talk about, but think you should check out:


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