Saturday, March 29, 2014

JR + LES MISÉRABLES LAVISH ARTHUR PEÑA + PAULA CROWN


 Les Miserables Post-Conceptual Art - Photo by Kevin Todora

ModernDallas.net  re-post of my article

This weekend I saw one of the smartest curated shows I have seen, and at the Dallas Contemporary no less. Les Misérables Post-Conceptual Art, was extremely strong in concept, in critical discourse, and in execution.

I found the quotes by philosophers mixed in with art pieces to be refreshing, because the curator helps the viewer add some context to the objects in the show. I know for me, my grad school years came flooding back, because I read several books by these Post-Structuralist philosophers quoted in the show. A real dialog between artists’ work occurred here and the show left me wishing a few art historians had written some in-depth pieces on the show. Some highlights include Cerith Wyn Evans’ neon words, Peter Halley’s colorful minimal painting, and digital decay works by John Pomara. I was also excited to see works by Sarah Morris, Michael Corris, Sylvie Fleury, Troy Brauntuch, Liam Gillick, Sherrie Levine, Michael Craig-Martin, and Ugo Rondinone.

Really, all the current shows at the Dallas Contemporary had merit. Though JR’s photos were on the scale and scope of a spectacle, I felt a real sense of charm that resonated with me. These photos were great human moments, like an old photo booth, but made public. JR’s scale and display of his photos all over the floor, walls, and on string made the portraits even more enjoyable to view. I think the fact that the photos were being taken throughout the show and not just at the opening made JR’s show less like an event with leftover artifacts, but rather an on going impactful experience.

I wasn’t excited with the design show at first, but I was attracted to visit the space a few more times and I began to enjoy the objects on display. It helped to have someone like Megan Adams Brooks showing her designs. Her row of draping fabrics brought the room to life. Paula Crown’s show just completely blew me away with those images and videos. Crown literally explores the inside of her head with MRI scans to make a kind of medically aided portrait. Crown’s images are accompanied by a pulsating minimalist score created by Ben Rubin and Todd Reynolds.

As I was leaving the Dallas Contemporary, I proclaimed out loud that it was the best show I have seen for this institution since it had moved to the Design District. Even though I had written off the space a year or two before, I still had hope. Well, these shows were worth the wait, but everything ends March 9th. I am shocked I am writing this, but I truly look forward to what the Dallas Contemporary has coming up next.

ModernDallas.net for more images

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