A Context-Free, Comment-Free Review Of Contemporary Art, With Suggestions

Things I Did On My July 4th Vacation: hit up The New Museum's Younger Than Jesus exhibition. It's a contemporary art exhibit showcasing only artists born after 1976. It ends today. Here is what I saw, presented without comment.

An apocalyptic, borderline Mad Max sculpture by two guys who go by AIDS-3D. The center of the sculpture was a tower with the words OMG inscribed on it in lights. It originated as a GIF image file, at one point, they say. Interview with them here.

Someone sleeping in a bed, in the middle of the museum. Chu Yun, the artist, "supplied" his subjects with sleeping pills and the bed. The sleepers were being paid $10 an hour to sleep in the museum. Yun's previous work has included putting a woman with down's syndrome in a chair, in a gallery.

A Context-Free, Comment-Free Review Of Contemporary Art, With Suggestions

Artist Guthrie Lonergan's Myspace Intro Playlist, in which the artist remixed a bunch of MySpace intro videos. It is not intended to be funny, according to the arist.

This video of rival street gangs in Belgrade fighting, scored to a trance techno track.

Three very large banners, one of which advised me: "DON'T PAY TAXES."

A installation with videos by artist Ryan Trecartin. The room had discarded Lay-Z-Boys and part of an airliner's interior on the side of it. I also remember seeing a shelf with sand on it, and a BlackBerry in the sand. Here is a Ryan Trecartin video. I'm simply incapable of describing its contents:

The remnants of an art project that took place on the first floor of the museum. There was a bunch of cardboard paper, unfolded boxes, and various other "construction" scraps lying on the floor. There was a small TV in the corner depicting in fast-forward the artist and her friends, building a replica of Rome in 24 hours, and then destroying it. From New York's art critic Jerry Saltz's review of the show:

The first night, I watched kids fashion the altars and temples of Rome's archaic period; by the next morning, when I returned, they'd been destroyed ("by fires," said the artist), and I spied the beginnings of Classical Rome. Just before the opening, the whole city was again wrecked and left in ruins, as the Dark Ages began. Glynn is saying she's not going to listen to the bromides that assert that change takes time.

An 8-bit videogame called FlyWrench by artist Mark Essen. You use an original Nintendo controller to control a line going through different colored shapes:

The laid out contents of three people, from whom Chinese artist Liu Chuang offered to buy everything off of their person for display in a museum. One included a cell phone, some pictures of themselves, and of course, all of their clothing.

A rotating spiral staircase on a platform, entitled: Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted, Stairway Edit.

Photographs of adults acting out Second Life and video game scenarios.

One of the gallery attendants, wearing a white 80s tracksuit with bloodstains on it. There was a card for it; this was part of this exhibition.

The last thing I saw before leaving was a banana peel on the floor. I couldn't tell if it was part of the show or not, and I didn't bother to check.

Okay, so, some comment, and some context (I lied! Getting you past the jump: it's an art.):

I'm by no means an educated art consumer or art critic, which is why it's probably safer to read Jerry Saltz's assessment of this thing for an actual, critical appreciation. The video game was fun. The message advising me not to pay taxes was nice. But: a woman was sleeping in a bed, in a museum. I'm often advised by people who know more about art than me that much of the point of this is to ask: is it art? Don't get me wrong: as you can tell by the publication you're reading this on, I'm all about the subversive (or painfully obvious) art of fucking with someone's sensibilities. But how does one get into the position to be able to put someone sleeping in a museum and call themselves an artist? Do you have to be embedded in the art scene? Well-established? Anyway. Maybe this makes me a conservative yokel without any kind of appreciation for the more intelligent "pleasures" of life. Or maybe it just makes me someone who went to a museum and "didn't get it." On that note, however, here are some ideas for the next time the New Museum goes at something like this. I submit them in sincere pursuit of the advancement of art and human civilization's ability to express itself:

  • Me, sitting in a papasan, smoking a bong, eating sandwiches of various origin.

  • A bounce-house full of puppies, while House of Pain's "Jump Around" is blasted on repeat in the bounce house. This will be at a frequency the dogs can't hear.

  • A full-scale replica of Waffle House installed on the roof of The New Museum, with a staff imported from a Waffle House currently in operation somewhere in the Southeastern United States. The only thing you can't order will be bacon.

  • A four year-old melting plastic toy soldiers with a blowtorch.

  • A New York City MTA official punching himself in the face every hour, on the hour. He will have a stack of unlimited Metrocards in his pocket that you don't know are there.

  • A drawing of me drawing a drawing, drawn by something that is not ordinarily asked to draw. There will be a new one each day. We will start with a parakeet and move forward as such.

  • A coffee stain.

  • This painting of pancakes on Nick Denton's head.

  • A performance-art version of Gawker where I go around screaming at people on the Bowery and handing out gold stars to the ones who scream back something interesting. Any of the ones trying to correct my grammar get summarily executed or "banned."

  • A Starbucks gift card with exactly one cent less on it than is required to buy a small cup of coffee.

  • A pillow filled with marmite, accompanying a down comforter filled with nutella, and a mattress filled with english muffins.

  • A giraffe named Mercedes.

  • A puppet show performed exclusively by people who hate puppets.

That is all. Oh, and this:

A Context-Free, Comment-Free Review Of Contemporary Art, With Suggestions

The Generational: Younger Than Jesus [New Museum]
‘Jesus' Saves - God bless the New Museum's tantalizing triennial. [New York]