P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presents Some New Minds, works by emerging artists Omer Fast, Christoph Girardet, Julia Loktev, Dave Muller, John Pilson, Brad Tucker, Pablo Vargas-Lugo and James Yamada. The artists explore mental spaces and how the video and digital experience shapes contemporary consciousness.
Brad Tucker draws from the language of street signs and the craft of sign-making. Sandwich (2000) is made up of cast skateboards and foam rubber. The work refers to color-field painting and early modernist abstraction, yet its homemade, low-tech quality suggests the do-it-yourself approach of the desktop publisher. The phonetic and poetic qualities of signage and Tucker’s use of the California vernacular contribute to his work. Tucker (b. 1965, California) lives and works in Texas.
James Yamada explores how technology and current software affects the way we perceive our surroundings and construct our individuality. In his work, which is comprised of video, sculpture, installation, collage and painting, simple gestures function as survival tactics. With the video sculpture Calm or Blue before Beginnings (1999-2000), three women explain how certain images and colors make them feel calm. Yamada (b. 1967, North Carolina) lives and works in New York.
John Pilson’s work examines how daily life rushes into the corporate environment. Above the Grid (2000), the title of which refers to Manhattan’s street plan as well as to Modernist architecture and its legacy in Minimalism, is a 2-channel installation in which absurd acts and events occur in a corporate office tower. In this “controlled” environment, men in business suits sing doo-wop songs in the elevators, bathrooms and “corridors of power.” Pilson’s new photographs from the Interregna project (2000) open up the possibility of day-dreaming and star-gazing in and out of the office environment. Pilson (b. 1968, New York City) lives and works in New York.
Omer Fast explores video and television as both medium and subject matter, creating video installations for exhibition spaces as well as developing public art projects that extend into the private space of the home. For his 2-channel video installation Glendive Foley (2000), Fast juxtaposes views of houses in Glendive, Montana — the smallest television market in the United States — with multiplying portraits of himself producing a soundtrack for this footage with his mouth and hands. In T3-AEON (2000), the artist inserts voiceovers into the 1984 film Terminator, which the museum visitor must take home to view, in a situation directly referring to video rental. The voiceovers disquietingly modify and personalize the experience of violence portrayed in the film. Fast (b. 1972, Israel) lives and works in New York City.
Julia Loktev’s work is grounded in film-making. Her 16mm films, video/audio works and installations mix reality and fiction and highlight the transitory nature of the urban experience. Said in Passing (2000) is a large-scale, 5-channel video installation that combines elements of documentary and performance. The work stages the possibility of experiencing other people’s identities in a crowded subway environment. The audience sits down, dons headphones and listens to short statements made by characters in the projection before them. The result is an articulation of a fragmented identity that is inconsistent and unreliable: a blurring of self and character, a performance of self as character. Loktev (b. 1969, Russia) lives and works in New York.
In his video works, Christoph Girardet explores cinematic illusion by extracting images from their original context. In order to clarify the emotional potential and perceptual influence of film, he digitally edits single sequences or narrative elements into rhythmic loops. In Enlighten (2000), the artist edits together “special effects” scenes of lightning from movies and television into a sequence that intensifies gradually and then dramatically to a climax, suggesting human brain activity. Girardet (b. 1966, Germany) lives and works in New York.
Dave Muller is known for running a nomadic Los Angeles art project called Three Day Weekend, which functions simultaneously as a social situation and artwork showcase. This traveling party/exhibition has taken place in various countries. With Spatial (2000), he presents a multi-paneled watercolor panorama view of the night sky, including some earthly things that intrude into the view. The work lightly suggests drip painting, the sublime, and the connection in artistic practice between inner and outer space. Muller (b. 1964, California) lives and works in Los Angeles.
Pablo Vargas-Lugo portrays moments of high emotion with delicacy. Through attention to composition and the qualities inherent in the materials used, the artist traces a connection between the hand and the mind. Akin to the traditional Japanese cut-paper landscape, Vargas-Lugo’s collages are fragile scenarios in which each layer seems to float. Although hand-crafted, the collage series Golgotha (2000) recalls the hard edge of the digital while alluding to the foundational image of the Crucifixion. Vargas-Lugo (b. 1968, Mexico) lives and works between Mexico City and New York.
Some New Minds is curated by P.S.1’s Senior Curator Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and P.S.1 Curatorial Associate Larissa Harris.