Wednesday 30 April 2008

Restaging art history

From Jerry Saltz this week, a review of the restaging of Dan Flavin’s "historic breakthrough exhibition" in 1964 at the Green Gallery, currently being held at Zwirner & Wirth gallery, New York.

At the end of the review Saltz muses on which other historical/historic exhibitions he'd like to see restaged:

My short list includes Pollock’s retina-ripping 1950 show at Betty Parsons that contained Autumn Rhythm, One: Number 31, and Lavender Mist; Jasper Johns’s astounding solo debut at Leo Castelli 50 years ago this past January, in which he exhibited Flag paintings, Targets, Numbers, and letters; and Cady Noland’s 1989 debut at American Fine Arts, if only to recall the shock that came with not knowing what one was looking at.

Immediately after reading the intro to the review, I thought of a similar thing in a NZ context. The two shows I've always really regretted not being around for are 'When Art Hits the Headlines' and 'Headlands'. Another set of shows that popped into my mind were the set of GBAG shows from the early/mid 1990s, when Shane Cotton, Michael Parekowhai, Yuk King Tan and their ilk stepped out on stage. I wonder though if you can really relive the shock of the new with anything more than fond nostalgia?

I think you also have to make a distinction between shows you wish you'd been around for, and shows you wish had come to New Zealand (into which category falls most of Michael Stevenson's recent work). However, in that context, Stevenson raises another category for me: stuff I did see, but wasn't able to comprehend at the time. Oh well. One day my Tardis will come (and I want to current Doctor, please).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Someone was telling me a while back how they were so struck by Clairmont's "Mirrors" show at the Bett-Duncan in 1974(?). I was thinking how I would loved to have seen that but I don't think you can releive 'the shock of the new' in a restaging