26th ANNUAL AICA AWARDS AND THE KUNDALINI SPIRAL
The crucial fact about curation that the International Association of Art Critics-USA celebrates at these annual AICA Awards is this: art may last through the centuries , but art exhibitions generally are fleeting! Our organization stresses the importance of art-ti-fact, a record of a brief moment when the planets are aligned to reveal underlying patterns by way of a new door of perception afforded by the public presentation of art.
One of the great things about this event is seeing the projected images from shows (see below) you may have missed or want to see again. Not to mention getting a face attached to the years of hard labor it takes to mount a noteworthy exhibition!
“You like to take pictures,” Dr. Francine Miller said as she handed me her camera on the way to the stage where AICA co-President Phyllis Braf was introducing Master of Ceremonies Klaus Biensenbach, Curator at MOMA and PS 1.
Hard getting work as a critic these days, so I stay versatile…
The timing of these awards, in a snowstorm no less, was portentous. We were celebrating art institutions right in the midst of all the talk of yet another art publication (Art on Paper) folding, corporate domination of the American culture and Roberta Smith’s bull’s-eye “Post Minimal to the Max” in Sunday’s New York Times
Edel Rodriguez’s witty post-minimal sheep, as in “people are sheep,” propelled the arrow right home to its target — the New York art institutions! I applauded Smith’s final flourish: “Message to curators: Whatever you’re doing right now, do something else next.”
(An aside: At the preview of the Roni Horn show at the Whitney Museum, I walked into a gallery empty, but for a few post-minimalist tubes propped against the wall, which prompted only one thought: “They haven’t finished installing yet!” I was left feeling similarly empty at the Hirshhorn’s Anne Truitt showin Washington, D.C. I was wondering if Post-Minimalism was a way to be inclusive of female artists who aren’t really saying anything — except that it’s good to have longevity with a good dealer!)
PERHAPS ALL THIS POST-MINIMALISM IS A CLEANSING THE PALATE FOR SOMETHING EXCITING AND AUTHENTICALLY NEW?
I like to think so! In the midst of this paradigm shift, it was helpful to remember last night that the art of Picasso and Bacon was once considered truly shocking and completely unacceptable for public display!
There were some unexpected delights as well!
I captured some great faces at the AICA Awards reception. Terence Koh got my award for best coat!
Always with the erudite comment, my friend Ed Rubin summed upthe majority of the figures that did the heavy lifting forthis year’s shows:
“Most of the women accepting awards were tall, thin, dressed in black model curator types, with foreign accents”
For the most outrageous individual style, we had to wait until the next stage — the reception.!
For example, this unidentified fellow (below) came equipped with his own chest of medals!
But the biggest surprise of the evening was how much I loved the highly erotic performance in the Rotunda! Talk about “Contemplating the Void“!
Never before was the building, with its spiraling walls so pristine white, experienced for the splendor of its primitive design –THE KUNDALINI SPIRAL of the ancient Sumerian Ziggurat!
How did I know of this connection? Because of the museum’s fabulous “Frank Lloyd Writght: From Within Outward,” which won First Place for Best Architecture or Design Show.
As Wright undoubtedly intended, his design can be best appreciated in its stark nakedness!