The nine screens in the Museum lobby are the initial entry points to the transitional experience produced by the Museum, which one could call a “non-event”—a preamble to the main visual consumption. This liminal trajectory incorporates the programmed infographics, the public architectural spaces, and the anticipating visitors in our sight lines. The “non-event” sets up an atmosphere of expectation in transit, through which our screen-conditioned, lifestyle-oriented, transient gazes turns us into unmitigated imitations of each other, not unlike the walk on airport walkways or the movement through vertical mall escalators. Read more
Commissioned by MoMA in conjunction with the 9 Screens exhibition series, Frolic and Detour takes its title from a legal term referring to “employee conduct that is outside the scope of employment and is undertaken purely for the employee’s own benefit.” The video employs both documentary and hallucinatory observations to describe one man’s daily routines and departures as punctuated by a kaleidoscopic mixture of painting, sculpture, cinema, and architecture. Shifting atmospheres ranging from offices, bedrooms, tennis courts, psychiatrist couches, forests, nightclubs, and hospitals provide the backdrops for days in the life of its “lion-in-winter” protagonist, native New Yorker and Attorney-at-Law Arnold Mandell. Read more
In 1999, Bernadette Corporation (BC) adopted the catchphrase “Pedestrian Cinema” (or “Ped Cin”) as a way of describing a specific kind of fragmentation and dismantlement to be applied to the increasingly historicized role of moving imagery in the arts. Important to this approach is for something to lie stranded within a cine-conceptual framework, without technically being a video or a film.
“This slimy, slug-minded mystery thriller starts out dead on arrival and then, like three-day-old fish, gets really bad really fast. And it stays bad, ensnaring its star and every other cast member in its wretched net.”
A couple of clichéd sentences pulled from a bad film review are a reverse operation of the Ped Cin concept: their crude familiarity and redundancy, without context, produce an almost delicate emptiness. Read more
When MoMA Associate Director Kathy Halbreich invited me to observe the inner workings of the Museum and share my observations and critiques with both curators and administrators, I thought it was very important for MoMA to take a look at its interchange with artists—how the Museum is perceived by artists, and also its function and role within the artistic community. After several months of discussion with curatorial and administrative staff, I articulated some ideas for how MoMA might become a more nimble institution, one less constrained by the canonical history it had contributed to shaping. For example, I thought that the Museum needed to expand its entry point for young, local artists. I also suggested showing art in some of the building’s interstitial spaces—this would allow for extra display space, I thought, and also help MoMA to compress the long lead time required by large institutions to realize an exhibition. Read more
For 9 Screens, which opens today at MoMA, Nicolás Guagnini, along with Kathy Halbreich, Luis Peréz-Oramas, and Klaus Biesenbach, commissioned five New York–based artists and collectives to create videos for display on the nine information screens above the ticketing desk in the Museum’s lobby.
My contribution, Turning Some Pages, greets the viewer with a series of questions, observations, and propositions—a fragmented narrative that sets the tone for a particular way of looking that is also a way of reading. The work plays with the idea of the intertitle, traditionally used in silent films, as a possible narrative equivalent to the space and function of the museum lobby. Turning Some Pages addresses, among other things, the conditions of pleasure, the affective reality of viewing art, memory, repetition, and art as a form of art history. Read more