Saturday, May 12, 2012

Andrei Molodkin at Station Museum of Contemporary

REVOLUTION, 2011, acrylic block and plastic hoses filled with crude oil, pump, compressors

My art review repost from ModernHouston.net back in February 2012.

It is quite absurd that we are still using gasoline, diesel vehicles, and oil run power plants. Andrei Molodkin's show "Crude" at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art highlights the continued insanity of this resource on American politics.

As an outside observer from Russia, Andrei Molodkin seems to have an easier time cutting through the fog of our local politics. He can see that very little changes in oil policy from one US President to the next. Molodkin’s marker drawings of President Obama and Bush look to be taken from political posters. The fact that they were drawn shows he meditated on these two men. His portrait of President Bush shows him holding a Bible while stretching out his arm, the words below read, “The Empire at War.” Though, you can’t really tell from the poster unless you see through the fog irony, Molodkin is being critical of Bush and his policies. His portrait of President Obama shows him smiling over the words “Yes We Can.” Mr. Obama’s portrait is accompanied with a few choice words, spelled out in clear acrylic sculptures filled with oil. Clearly, Molodkin thinks Mr. Obama is no better on oil policies.

These sculptures of clear acrylic just fascinated me. One work spelled out the word “Justice.” Each letter had tubes running oil in and out of the letters. The noise from the pumps made the gallery space a little creepy, but drove home the power behind oil. Displayed on a saw-horse was the reproduction of lady liberty’s arm, half way filled with oil, and was accompanied by a video of her face. An acrylic block encased the arm and torch.These works are sublimely beautiful in there motion and words.

The problem is the irony of the whole show. Yes, the US is guilty of some pretty tough oilpolitics across the globe. However, I hope Molodkin is mindful of all the other bad players in this circus of grabbing resources. Russia using oil against the Ukraine comes to mind. On the other hand, from my research, Molodkin does seem to take into account some of the global perspective. Maybe, he was focusing the show for the local audience.

When you visit the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, don’t be surprised to see something politically or socially charged. The last show was “Witness to War,” by George Gittoes. I was a little taken back by the violent imagery, but it was powerful work worth seeing. Andrei Molodkin’s show, “Crude,” is up until February 12th.

For more pictures from the show visit, ModernHouston.net.

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