For his exhibition at The Society, Beijing-based artist Feng Mengbo has created Q4U, a customized version of Quake III, the popular internet game whose plot is simply kill or be killed. The dynamic audio-visual of contemporary videogames is magnified as Q4U is projected over three large screens (10 feet by 13 feet) each featuring a different point of view.
The Renaissance Society presents Sky-Wreck, a large site-specific textile work by Chicago-based conceptual artist Helen Mirra.
Given the disparate nature of her practice and her interest in language, the label conceptual artist suits Chicago-based Helen Mirra well. The components of her installations are often extremely simple, combining a textual element with a minimalist form. In addition, she has produced a sizeable output of film, video, audio recordings and artists books all of which bring to mind Fluxus. Mirra's wit, however, is largely at the service of poetry, a sensibility befitting her favorite subjects; the sea, the landscape and childhood.
For her exhibition at The Society, Mirra has created Sky-Wreck, a work based on the geodesic designs of Buckminster Fuller, utopian engineer, inventor, cartographer and architect, best remembered for the geodesic dome. Sky-Wreck consist of 110 triangles with 330 edges of a polyhedral form cut from a coarse indigo cloth which is flattened to cover a large portion of the gallery floor. Mirra's form functions as one of Fuller's dymaxion maps in which he converted the globe into a triangulated polyhedron. Instead of representing the surface of the earth, Sky-Wreck represents the firmament, or the sky in its role as support for the heavens. On a formal level, Sky-Wreck corresponds to the interior architecture of the gallery which consists of an elaborate series of origami like folds configured to resemble a neo-gothic church. Conceptually, Mirra drew her inspiration for Sky-Wreck from a variety of spiritual, artistic, and scientific sources ranging from Paul Celan (from whom the exhibition derives its name) to Dr. Bronner, from Marcel Duchamp to the Milesian philosophers of Ancient Greece.
This exhibition will survey thirty years of work by a pioneer in the field of video. Originally a filmmaker, Auder (b. 1944) took as his models Jean-Luc Goddard and Andy Warhol. Auder, who was closely associated with Warhol's Chelsea Hotel circle, had been interested in film as a form of personal expression, one crafted exclusively from daily life. But until the advent of video, a film-based diary practice was cost prohibitive. In 1969 Auder purchased the first commercially available video camera. Since then, he has recorded hundreds of hours, documenting the people, places and events that have made up his life. These he distills into highly intimate portraits and personal reflections, at times lightly scripted and at others using only his raw footage that in and of itself is an invaluable document of New York's Lower East Side. This exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue and a series of related film and video screenings.
Since the 1960s, the paintings of Raoul De Keyser have uniquely defined a place for themselves within the scope of contemporary art. Influenced by the post-war American Modernist movement, De Keyser's canvases reference Color-field painting and Minimalism. Like the work of the pioneers of abstract painting, each of his paintings contains its own individuality. He has created a successful formal marriage between the artistic dichotomies of figuration versus abstraction, the physicality of paint versus the ephemerality of the image, and exploration of the fundamentals of painting versus references to his personal life and surroundings. We are treated to particularity, unpredictability and the flux and anxiety of the everyday. In their allusion to reality, they spark a poetry which is hard even for the least sentimental viewer to resist.
De Keyser was born in 1930 and in the mid -1960s he joined New Vision, a group of painters interested in revitalizing earlier strains of European formalism. Since then, he has become an increasingly important figure in contemporary painting, having exhibited widely in Europe including Documenta IX in 1992.
This extraordinary survey of twenty paintings will reflect De Keyser's work from 1980 through 1999. His series of monochrome, dualchrome and abstract forms illustrate the broad range of painterly possibilities, boundaries explored, and broadened palette since 1980. This exhibition has been organized by independent curator Greg Salzman and will have two venues on its North American tour: The Goldie Paley Gallery at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia and The Renaissance Society. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog edited by principle essayist Steven Jacobs with writings by Roberta Smith, Ulrich Loock, Wim Van Mulders and others.
May 10, 1998
National book Award winner Orlando Patterson conducts an informal interview with Kerry James Marshall during the opening reception.
Conceived as an installation for The Society, it features three new paintings, two sculptural components, a video projection and is replete with an anglic pantheon of African-American cultural and political figures who died between 1959 and 1979. Marshall uses the genre of history painting to reread the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and the whole of African-American History in relation to a very complx present.