Live In Your Head: Richard Artschwager's Cabinet of Curiosities by Richard Artschwager at Gagosian
Gagosian gallery residing in Davies Street are hosting current exhibition from 17th of January until the 7th of March, and even though that the exhibition went live in January, I only got a chance to see it now. Gallery space is not huge, however, in this instance it made the whole experience even better – since the name of the exhibition itself is talking about small spaces: head and cabinet – it aligns very well.
Gagosian made really great job when it comes to curatorial decisions: exhibition contains 22 art-pieces, it is a combination of works that artist made as early as in 1962 or ones that he made during his last years of life, no matter this amount of exhibits or timely diversity curation makes it easy to move around, give equal amount of attention or comprehension to each of the artworks.
As gallery says in its public release 'The installation will be visible from the street, its components arranged like objects in a Joseph Cornell box. It also recalls a sixteenth-century Wunderkammer, or cabinet of curiosity—a collection of specimens, relics, and other marvels that was displayed as a microcosm of its owner’s knowledge and experience.'
When it comes to the name of the whole exhibition gallery adds: 'The exhibition is named for a sculpture titled Live in Your Head (2002) that is itself a reference to Harald Szeemann’s paradigmatic 1969 group exhibition of the same title, in which Artschwager participated. Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form upended fixed ideas about the art of the time—namely, the relationship between artist, viewer, space, and curator.'
(Live in your head, 2002)
I like Artschwager’s art so I felt like writing about it. I like it because of how commercial it is/can be, I find it accompanying Jeff Koons or Andy Warhol. It is bright, popsy, and brave enough to admit that yes – I am here for you to buy me, however, as in everything, one can always find the meaning in these art pieces. Most of the time Artschwager's artworks are literally about the object, its minimalistic features, occupational capacities, or spacial role, it is about moving through space and making sense out of it, it is about experience being aimed towards the viewer, but at the same time making her think of the work that is hidden behind it, what artist/curator were going through, etc... Or it is also about nothing. About the commerce. About the artwork being there as a symbol of status if someone owns it. However, it is said by Gagosian that 'none of these classifications adequately define the aims of an artist who specialized in categorical confusion and worked to reveal the levels of deception involved in pictorial illusionism. In his work, an anonymous sheet of walnut-pattern Formica is both itself and a depiction of a wooden plane; a table or chair is furniture, sculpture, and image all at once; and a painting or sculpture can be a “multi-picture” or “three-dimensional still life.” Artschwager foregrounded the structures of perception, striving to conflate the world of images—which can be apprehended but not physically grasped—and the world of objects, the same space that we ourselves occupy.'
(Splatter Table, 2005)
I feel that every time I enter Gagosian when they are exhibiting something non-political, but rather playful and not soaked with feelings/thoughts, I feel lighter myself. It is refreshing – I personally enjoy this part of capitalism and consumerism – these type of artworks show me that sometimes, very rarely, it (capitalism/consumerism) can actually be beautiful.
I enjoyed the exhibition, it didn’t take much of my time and I don’t think it should've. For me it is literally beautiful to look at, that’s all, it is attractive and greatly curated, but as all beautiful things that only contains beauty and no depth – it can become boring and it finally fades in my memory folds. Maybe public issue by Gagosian could’ve been written better – with enclosement of what kind of value it brings to the culture, besides of the obvious – monetary one for those who are selling/buying it; but all in all I guess it really is what it is – just beautiful pieces put together.
Artschwager was born in 1923 in Washington, DC, and died in 2013 in Albany, New York. After receiving a BA in 1948 from Cornell University, New York, he studied under Amédée Ozenfant, one of the pioneers of abstraction. In the early 1950s Artschwager became involved in cabinetmaking, producing simple pieces of furniture.