Out There: Solo Shows

A note about the rating system: The ratings reflect a subjective balance of such criteria as originality, concept, execution and suitability to the medium. Please post your recommendations or comments to the Bulletin Board.

**** not to be missed
*** recommended
** if interested
* avoid
(date) date reviewed

**1/2 Joseph Beuys' "7000 Oaks" Project: The "7000 Oaks" project was initiated by the late artist-guru in 1982 at Documenta 7, the international art fest. Improving the environment was the mission, and its latest incarnation is the planting of trees and boulders in Chelsea, New York's latest art district. Concept meets image in the beautiful, accompanying postcards. (10/96)

***1/2 Carol Polakoff: This site by the Paris Web and multi-media studio, Gyoza, has two separate photography exhibits by Polakoff--a retrospective and a collection of photos of the artist's trip to Russia in search of family members. The former showcases Polakoff's subjective documentary style, the latter adds a compelling narrative thread to this style. (11/96)

** "Video Feedback Waterbed" Installation by Jaron Lanier: Cyberstar Jaron Lanier is always referred to as "a pioneer of Virtual Reality"--he's a co-inventor of VR and the coiner of the term. But he's also an artist and a musician. This installation at Exit Art in New York couples his talents and invites us to "come visit and experience floating on light." The insufficiently explanatory Web site makes more sense if you've seen the show. (11/96)

*** Ebon Fisher, Bionic Codes: Fisher's road signs for the information superhighway embody the impossible dream of a workable cyber-linguistic system. One would never guess the meaning of the codes without the accompanying text. But that's the point. The codes themselves are products of the simplified images of the body from road signs and scientific diagrams of atoms and molecules. (11/96)

*** Laurie Anderson : If you know anyone unfamiliar with this artist's performance-magic (someone from Mars, perhaps?), send 'em here for engaging text and quick-time snippets from "Puppet Motel" and "Theme Park.". (3/96)

**3/4 Mythillogical Gallery: Larry Auerbach presents his cyber-morphed-surrealism. The most clichÈ-ridden of digital genres, Auerbach's "lifeforms" are about as good as it gets. (5/96)

***1/2 Wax Web: David Blair : This landmark project is more than a repurposed version of his 1991 art film about James Hivemaker, a World War I-era "spiritualist cinematorgrapher" and peripatetic collector of images of the dead. Occupying 1/5 gigabytes(!) of hard disk space, WW is the largest artwork on the web. (5/95)

*** Heath Bunting : Puts "slideshow" tech to strikingly effective use to showcase his abstracted, black and white photo-images. "Pain of Existence" and street signifiers ("Velocity") are two of this Londoner's themes. (5/95)

*** Gray Scale Field: Peter Campus' metaphorically resonant, black-and-white photos are among the most satisfying on the Net.

** 3/4 Bowling Allery: Shu Lea Chang's project links 3 public spaces through ISDN lines and digital sensor data--Minneapolis' Walker Art Center Gallery 7, Bryant Lake Bowl and the Bowling Alley Website. Bowlers at Bryant Lake Bowl trigger changes in the chain of ISDN connections; scrambling the gallery's laserdisc project and interfering with viewers' paths through the website. Sounds a little cooler than it looks. (1/96)

** Wrapped Reichstag: Christo & Jeanne Claude's fan-site features handsome images of the recently-wrapped parliamentary building, complemented by gushy accolades to the dynamic duo.

*** General Hospital: Margaret Crane & Jon Winet's oddly poetic take on the meltdown of the American medical system sometimes functions as metaphor for society-at-large, and sometimes as an opportunity for Oprah-esque chat. (Their project is linked to the newsgroup alt.society.mental-health.) (4/96)

* Joseph Cusimano paints familiar-looking amalgams of Magritte and de Chirico. Eyes and trees float above Mediterranean landscapes in the artist's self-proclaimed "metaphysical surrealism."(12/95)

**3/4 The World's First (and probably longest) Collaborative Sentence : Douglas Davis' epic work-in-progress is a more entertaining read than you might think. The expanding opus was the first Web-work purchased by a major collector, the late Eugene Schwartz, who acquired it for "what dinner for eight would cost at a decent restaurant." (4/95)

***1/2 Pershing's Postcards & the Wadsworth Bible : Lowell Darling and Jim Newman's gorgeous, interactive piece couples historical artifacts and an oblique plea to politicians to wake up (and shut up.) The latter partly takes the form of a proposed monument--the tomb of the unborn soldier. (See The Gallery in issue #2)

** Other (M)other Stories: Carol Flax couples handsome, collage-ish images and diaristic cliches in her self-described "look at issues around women, adoption, identity and culture." (2/96)

*** Crater Mountain Project : Today's Audubon doesn't go to New Guinea simply to document vanishing species. David Gillison helps administer a wildlife management site where he's working to implement a system of satellite-, voice- and modem-based telecommunications.

**1/2 Guerrilla Girls : A gallery (and shop) from the self-proclaimed, "conscience of the art world." Not much new here, but a nice round-up of the simian collective's clever, agit-prop posters.

**1/2 Most Wanted Paintings on the Web: Komar & Melamid : This repurposed project typifies mindless interactivity for couch-potatoes. You want over-the-sofa-style painting? Fill out the survey.

*** Living Almanac of Disasters: Cati Laporte subdivides a year into 365 tragedies, illustrated by news photos or artworks. It's like reading a high-school history book while perched on Warhol's Electric Chair. (3/95)
(See Centerpieces in issue #1)

**3/4 Timothy Leary : Our favorite guru--all right, so he's not exactly an artist--has photos, an art room, a featured artist, even a place where you'll be able to post your art. (4/96)

**** The File Room : Censorship is rampant, on- and off-line. Muntadas' archive-cum-artwork offers 2500 years of context; plus useful links, essays, and a place to post current transgressions. (8/95) (See Centerpieces in issue #1)

***1/4 The Three Little Pigs, as it was originally passed into English folklore in 1620 : A sly and totally surprising riff on cultural assimilation, that mother of invention, from Craig Pleasants. (See The Gallery in issue #2)

*** Park Bench: Nina Sobell & Emily Hartzell : A network of interactive computer kiosks in high-traffic, New York street-sites like Penn Station will afford techno-access to the woman-on-the-street: The Internet, neighborhood news and video links with kiosk users in other sites. (See The Buzz in issue #1)

***3/4 Stelarc: Fascinating documentary and theoretical material from and about this crucially important, Australian artist who has literally wired himself to the Net. (See Centerpieces in issue #2)

*** Virtual Concrete : De-gendered and re-gendered bodies by e-mail. Victoria Vesna tries to help you design your cyberself--or a plastic, fantastic lover--but the e-mailed bodies never come. (2/96)

***1/2 Siberian Deal : Eva Wohlgemuth and Kathy Rae Huffman board the Trans-Siberian Railroad with a packet of gifts for this inventive foray into art-potlatch-adventure. (5/96)

***1/2 Adrianne Wortzel: The Electronic Chronicles : Archaeologists of the future share their views of us late-20th-century, linear thinkers thanks to the generosity of the Casaba Melon Institute and Museleanor, a time-traveler who saves artists like Giotto and Rubens from themselves. A tour-de-force in an ordinarily cloying genre.

Out There
Issue 3