Tuesday, February 2, 2010

AIR Gallery Brooklyn- 3 exhibitions

#1 The Man I Wish I Was - curated by Kharis Kennedy
We went to this last Thursday because Sarah had a piece in the show, and the night before had participated in a panel discussion about some of her video work. The screening and discussion were at X Initiative (http://x-initiative.org) & Artbook (www.artbook.com) Artbook is amazing I could've spent a fortune, I found these wonderful Bruno Munari books which I think I'll go back and acquire! Anyway, A.I.R. is a great space it's located under the Brooklyn Bridge and is in a building filled with little contemporary galleries. A.I.R. began because 'The majority of women artists in the late 1960's had few places to exhibit their art. In response to this problem, a group of women artists founded A.I.R. (Artists in Residence) in 1972. It was the first cooperative for women artists in the United States.' Really up my street, Nancy Spero and Ana Mendieta were two of the first artists to exhibit at A.I.R. We had a chat with Kat Griefin who runs the gallery and she talked us through the art on display which was great.

The Man I Wish I Was was an exhibition about gender performance, perception and personal identity. We were lucky enough to meet with the curator over lunch and she discussed some of he difficulties she faced putting on the show because of its title, such as offending the gay community because it is often assumed that gay women just want to be men. In essence the collection of works were gathered together to explore notions of masculinity -conventional or otherwise- in women's cultural practice and work that has a personal note. Much of the work was photographic and featured the artists in different guises, which were adopted to say something about themselves and their place in a world that has certain expectations of appropriate behaviour and image depending on one's gender.

There was an interesting and amusing piece by Annie Sprinkle and Katherine Gates - 'The 7 Men Inside Katherine Gates'. Sprinkle is best known for her masturbatory and cervical exploration performances so this was a welcome surprise. It comprised of a set of photos with Gates dressed in different male guises, the accompanying text describes each of the men, see them here: http://www.anniesprinkle.org/html/art/7_men.html

#2 I Have Something to Say - Jee Hwang (fellowship)
I'm sure this artist will be of interest to those on my MA course, Hwang's stunning images describe miscommunication and the difficulty of describing the incommunicable in wonderful sequences, she says of her work: 'I have something to say, I have something to say but it cannot be said. It needs to be revealed but will never be perfect if I try. Nevertheless the pursuit of longing continues by all means.' Her images are, in short, exquisite.

#3 Power & Presence: Theo Westenberger's Portraits of Extraordinary Women.
This was a collection of striking images of -mostly- women in Hollywood. There interesting images because they are glamourous but on the terms of the women, they are strong sexy images. Check ou the Helena Bonham Carter pic, the Emma Thompson one was good and the Sinead O'Connor too.

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