Exhibition

Gary Indiana: The Great Debate About Art: Part 2

15 Mar 2015 – 19 Mar 2015

Event times

Wed - Sun 12pm to 6pm

envoy enterprises

New York
New York, United States

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Art is about pushing boundaries. Purists, like most people, want things to be defined. When they cannot define an artist's position, they cannot define their own, which makes them highly uncomfortable. It is however important, to encourage a wide appreciation of many kinds of art. Therefore art needs to be made accessible on all different levels from traditional to very conceptual to playful. It should be multitudinous and as kaleidoscopic as possible.

About

Gary Indiana is an American writer, filmmaker, and visual artist. He is perhaps best known for his loose trilogy of books (Three Month Fever, Resentment, Indifference), which are based on notorious criminals in the spotlight. He also based multiple novels on fictionalized events from his own life and those of his associates and contemporaries. His history as a film actor for example, particularly his work with German director Dieter Schidor and others in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's circle, is described in Gone Tomorrow. Before he published his first novel in 1987, Indiana wrote, directed, and acted in a dozen plays. Between 1979 and the mid-1980s, Indiana acted in experimental films by Dieter Schidor, Ulrike Ottinger, and other European directors. Throughout his work, Indiana explores sexuality, violence, money, the media and contemporary America. In GDA2, the artist shows collages and a video work, as well as an installation consisting of photographs. 

This is Gary Indiana’s third solo exhibition in New York, following exhibitions at American Fine Arts Co. (2002) and Participant Inc. (2013).

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THE GREAT DEBATE ABOUT ART

For the next seven months "The Great Debate About Art," a book by Roy Harris, Professor Emeritus of General Linguistics in the University of Oxford, serves as the basis for an exhibition series that comments on certain aspects of the current art market. 

25 JANUARY – 8 MARCH 2015

Widely reported in the British press at the time, in 1918, Mary Pickford told Lord Desborough, that Charles Chaplin entered a Chaplin walk contest at a fair and that he came in 20th. 

A visitor to a well populated group exhibition walked by the work of a well-known artist, without giving it the light of day. After having looked at the entire exhibition, while glancing over the checklist to see which artists were in the show, highly surprised, the visitor noticed that the well-known artist in question had work in the show. The visitor returned to the exhibition, checklist in hand, to then almost faint in awe of the work, which just moments before had utterly failed to capture the viewer's attention. 

The first part of envoy enterprises’ GDA series, GDA1-anonymous, focuses on Oscar Wilde's dictum: "Art never expresses anything but itself." The exhibition invites the viewer to look at works of art that are presented in a completely decontextualized situation/environment. Well-known and emerging artists are shown anonymously, side-by-side, which forces the viewer to judge the work by its artistic value, and not by any other criteria. 

The exhibition poses the question how much context is needed to enjoy a work of art and to what extent our perception is influenced. Are objects of art only art when the art world decrees them to be, as Arthur Danto says? Where does that leave the works "in themselves?" How does that prevent its "value" from being determined by the interests of big business? 

What about the notion that the essence of art cannot be put into words, which has obvious links to Wittgenstein’s distinction between saying and showing? Combined, they yield the thesis that what art is can be shown but never said and that there is no “outside” viewpoint from which it can be observed and described without falsification.

15 MARCH – 19 APRIL 2015

Art is about pushing boundaries. Purists, like most people, want things to be defined. When they cannot define an artist's position, they cannot define their own, which makes them highly uncomfortable. It is however important, to encourage a wide appreciation of many kinds of art. Therefore art needs to be made accessible on all different levels from traditional to very conceptual to playful. It should be multitudinous and as kaleidoscopic as possible. 

GDA2 - Gary Indiana 

Gary Indiana is an American writer, filmmaker, and visual artist. He is perhaps best known for his loose trilogy of books (Three Month Fever, Resentment, Indifference), which are based on notorious criminals in the spotlight. He also based multiple novels on fictionalized events from his own life and those of his associates and contemporaries. His history as a film actor for example, particularly his work with German director Dieter Schidor and others in Rainer Werner Fassbinder's circle, is described in Gone Tomorrow. Before he published his first novel in 1987, Indiana wrote, directed, and acted in a dozen plays. Between 1979 and the mid-1980s, Indiana acted in experimental films by Dieter Schidor, Ulrike Ottinger, and other European directors. Throughout his work, Indiana explores sexuality, violence, money, the media and contemporary America. In GDA2, the artist shows collages and a video work, as well as an installation consisting of photographs. 

This is Gary Indiana’s third solo exhibition in New York, following exhibitions at American Fine Arts Co. (2002) and Participant Inc. (2013).

26 APRIL– 7 JUNE 2015

GDA3-roy harris 

For GDA3, artists were asked to translate the complexity and wealth of ideas from “The Great Debate about Art,” by Roy Harris, into a visual form. This allows the exhibition to bring together the competing strains of intellectualized and aestheticized craft, while smartly exchanging different solutions for the same context.

14 JUNE – 17 JULY 2015

GDA4-commodity fetishism 

In the fourth and final part of GDA, artists comment on the decline of the arts into commodity fetishism.

The arts are a part of the humanities, something which commodity fetishism, with its increasingly corporatized environment, is averse to. The statement by late art critic Robert Hughes, that "The new job of art is to sit on the wall and get more expensive," is directly related to that development. 

Laura Hoptman, curator at MoMA, recently stated that there is no more avant-garde. Explaining why is quite simple. Everything has been reduced to a commodity determined by market value. In other words, the reason there is no avant-garde going on is because Capitalism has co-opted the manifesto’s language by osmosis. Apparently the art world can only survive by continually forgetting things, so that everything looks new all the time. There is nothing new under the sun, yet the art world has to wake up every morning thinking that everything is completely new. You basically have to mimic innovation. 

As long as we continue to live under the diktat of commercial greed and short-termism, today’s non-existing art manifesto will remain conservative and severely lacking in myth, metaphor and illusion.

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