WE ARE ALL CURATORS, NOW!
Artists and curators often seek attention through impulses as subversive as they are creative. In a recent attempt to gather a range of curatorial concepts that court the limits of the imaginable, New York City’s Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts called for a “Theoretical Show” of the “most audacious, outrageous, or impossible” ideas for an exhibition.
From 71 proposals, the jurors chose 15 works to be realized in a late fall exhibition entitled “A Wicked Problem.” Those texts that escaped selection were papered on the gallery’s rear wall. (Disclosure, I was among the latter artists.) I wondered — and still wonder — about the gap between the practicable and the impossible. Is it simply the ease with which some people dwell in protracted creative tension, while others wish to resolve it as soon as possible?
Regardless, the Dada-esque results were unpredictable and often charming. Participants were commanded to use five random phrases (“Piranesian,”
for one), explore Marcel Duchamp’s obscure concept of the “inframince,” or unpack his witticism, “Guest plus Host equals Ghost.” Several offered playful imagery, such as Oree Holban’s model roller coaster racing at interstellar speed through a dream-like exhibition of his favorite artworks.
Not surprisingly, some artists “realized” their impossible passion through video or animation. There were those who dreamed of enacting social ideals. In Anuj Vaidya’s “ecological cinema,” producing a movie of the Ramayana is to be accomplished using only sustainable human-scaled energy sources like bicycle power. Although absurdly anachronistic in an energy-rich society, resituated in India, this concept might well be economical.
Misha Rabinovich and Caitlin Foley envision the world transformed by a single moment when everyone jumps at once. Implementing their first step, a computer game in the gallery teaches viewers to time their leaps and control the moment of landing.