Friday, February 4, 2011

Tonight! MOCAD Opens 2 Shows w/ DJ Spooky & Aux-88!

Posted By on Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 1:11 PM

Curated by the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit’s Luis Croquer (the museum’s impeccable director and chief curator) come two wondrous exhibitions to consider — one solo and the other a carefully plucked orchestra of artists. One show runs thru March and the other until April’s end. But tonight is the night to gaze upon and interact with the work. MOCAD’s planned a February fete that might be the best since we welcomed in the New Year.

Not only will there be world class art to adore (or, though unlikely, abhor), but the globally gushed after sound artist DJ Spooky, that Subliminal Kid will perform live, which is a audio snack attack unto itself. And there’s more! Spooky will be joined by homegrown electro legends legends Aux-88!

About the art and artists: LifeStories

The exhibition LifeStories presents artworks by six international artists that deal with issues of personal history or that draw from other people’s life stories to eschew traditional ways to present, encapsulate and narrate biography. The individual and suites of pieces presented in the show include video, sculpture, drawing and installation, demonstrating how contemporary artists see their lives and those of others connected to larger and more complex contexts. They do so by focusing on physical attributes and identity as constructors of a greater whole, critically reconsidering lifetime achievements and production and giving new value to the ephemeral as an integral part of life. Artists included in the exhibition are the famed German choreographer Pina Bausch, undoubtedly one of the most intriguing and influential figures of post-war European dance, as well as Patricia Esquivias, Simryn Gill, Peter Lemmens, Jàn Man?uška and Rachel Mason. Thru march 27.

Edgar Arceneaux: Miracles and Jokes, Circle Disk Rotationand 22 Lost Signs of the Zodiac

For his first solo show in Detroit, Arceneaux will be presenting three distinct yet inter-related bodies of work: The suites of drawings Miracles and Jokes, commissioned by MOCAD especially for the exhibition and 22 Lost Signs of the Zodiac: Three Variations of Seven, 2009 which orbits around a central chamber entitled Circle Disk Rotation-Detroit Series from 2008. The artist has transformed the Museum’s main gallery into a space to be explored. Arceneaux sees the large and cavernous gallery as both a map and maze of ideas, where darkened interstitial spaces of the gallery stand in for the grey areas that separate and connect these works and also create a free-flowing voyage where viewers can set their own itineraries.

The exhibition opens with a large-scale installation entitled Circle Disk Rotation-Detroit Series, 2010, housed in a hexagonal room. A projection, created from a VHS recording of the previous day’s visits to the space is played back onto the walls of the room and a giant disk suspended from the ceiling that rotates in front of visitors, creating a mysterious celestial experience of omnipresence and shadow play from the most basic of materials. In Circle Disk Rotation the artist juxtaposes the past, present and the unknown by allowing the visitor to simultaneously experience an exploded view of the space from days before and by being an unexpected element in the constant transformation of the piece and the production of the next day’s presentation. With 22 Lost Signs of the Zodiac: Three Variations of Seven, we encounter 66 drawings, approximately 5’ x 7’ each.  The large crowd of drawings stands on end for viewers to pull out and examine on a large table.  The drawings represent twenty-two constellations that have, over the course of history, been cast out of the commonly known astrological order of 12 signs. The drawings are both maps of galaxies as well as bodies or figures that viewers must unroll or exhume in order to peer inside. With each observation of a drawing, it is subtly altered by its unrolling, and every observation effects what is subsequently seen.

Rounding off the cycle of the exhibition is a new suite of 16 drawings titled Miracles and Jokes, 2010, especially commissioned by MOCAD.  The drawings consist of optical illusions fused with texts.  “Vulgarity and spiritual transformation are intertwined. This is why cursing and swearing are rooted in religion. It is an expression of the struggle between the light and dark (the body, its flesh, its fluids and sin with spiritual enlightenment),” Arceneaux says. “In this body of new drawings I use optical illusions fused with texts from jokes with miracles from the Bible. Optical illusions embrace paradox and perpetually defer resolve in the same way that laughter at absurdity acknowledges our finite ability to live with that which we cannot understand.” Thru April 24.

Tonight, Friday, February 4th: Members and guests preview is from 6 to 8 p.m. — free admission. Public opening begins at 8 p.m., $8 admission.

More by Travis R. Wright

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