Perambulating the Bounds

Monday, December 26, 2005

Best of 2005: 10 Pieces of Art

Since no one asked me for year-end best-of lists I’ll just have to do it myself. And since there’s no one exercising editorial restraint, I’m going to do different lists each of the next couple of days.

Today it’s 10 pieces I enjoyed this year. I’m focusing here on individual pieces that struck me on their own, with the effect of leaving out some excellent bodies of work shown this year by folks like Adrienne Outlaw, Barbara Yontz, Bob Durham, and Donald Earley. A lot of people really.

1. Beatriz Milhazes, Phebo, at the San Francisco MOMA. A very appealing lotus-pattern abstraction.

2. Wangechi Mutu, Misguided Little Unforgivable Hierarchies, also at SFMOMA. The image is a little hard to make out, but it’s this stack of three figures, a man, a woman, and a monkey that grow out of each other in a collage form.

3. Will ClenDening, acousto-kinetic sculpture, Watkins Senior show. I didn’t note the name of the piece, but it translated the minimal noise of a fan into movement (of a speaker surface) which he harnessed to a writing machine. I thought it was brilliant in effecting movement between states and dimensions.

4. Paul Chan, My Birds…Trash…Future, PS1 Greater New York show. I knew Paul a bit when he was finishing at the SAIC in 1996. He went off to New York and things started happening for him really fast. I’ve been reading about his work in recent years, but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to see it.

5. Kathryn Spence, Corcoran Biennial. Her section in the biennial included messy balls of threads, embroidered paper towel rolls, delicate little drawings of birds and with the centerpiece a construction of boxes filled with bound bunches of paper, cloth, balls of string, photos. Something massive and effusive coming out of the accumulation of mundane material.

6. Maggie Michael, Explosion #8, G Fine Art (DC). A big drawing combining charcoal, pencil, enamel, and apparently entire bottles of ink. It had tremendous energy and presence.

7. Melody Owen, MGM Lion, Rhodes College. This was part of the traveling show by several members of the Fugitive Art Center. Gems float out of the mouth of the MGM lion when he roars. I was completely blessed out by it.

8. Cody VanderKaay, drawings, Finer Things. Each sheet is filled with closely-packed vertical lines in a single color of ballpoint pen. Patterns come out from variations in the line weight and places where the ink runs. There’s obviously an interest in process, and it results in very appealing forms. The drawings also reminded me of Wesley Willis’ ballpoint pen drawings he used to sell on the street in Wicker Park.

9. Erin Hewgley, The Conundrum of Plumb, Frist. This lectern was made of a tangle of metal pipe. I said in my review it was Monty Python animation come to life.

10. Ludwika Ogorzelec, Nancy Margolis Gallery. She created a web from clear strips of film that filled the gallery, mostly about 4 or 5 feet up from the ground, so you ducked under it to reach gaps where you could stand up. One portion of it seemed to go through the gallery window and stick out over the sidewalk. I guess this is a variation in plastic with what Hewgley was doing with pipes, showing I’ve got a weakness for maze-like art.

Tomorrow, either I’ll do something on a few full shows worth noting, or go on to music or maybe reading.


  • I think that your "Best of 2005: 10 Pieces of Art" is wonderful! I enjoyed reading your descriptions of all the artists work. I like the way you compose your words. Sincerly, Kim Gagel

    By Anonymous Kim Gagel, at 5:28 AM  

  • do you have a picture of maggie michael's explosion #8? could you send it to me?

    By Blogger bbond, at 12:58 PM  

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