This is the blog for, the art site of Ryan Callis. Here is where I post about influences, and the stories behind my art. To see the art that this blog refers to, visit

Monday, November 5, 2007

murakami and matta clark show reviews

i went and saw two exhibits at moca yesterday. gordon matta clark and takashi murakami both having retrospectives at the two locations made an interesting pairing whether on purpose or by coincidental choice by the overlords of the moca. schimmel never let's down with the spectacular but there was an undercurrent of something forboding and dare i say, evil, about murakami's show at the geffen. set up as a mall like similacra of an art show one traverses room after room filled with sculptures and "paintings" that use the template of the last 50 years of western art history to play stage for murakami's charecters. i think the truly disturbing part of the show was that it purposely mirrored back (to one sharp enough to realize it) our rabid consurmerist culture, but in a way that vacated "art" of any meaning and made it part of the mechanism. now i'm no art dogmatist, art can do many things, including make lot's of money, but murakami seems out for blood. he critiques our culture and high culture but in a way where he wants to take us along with him like Elsworth Tooey in the fountain head. he seems out for power. he animated a kanye west video that can be viewed in the "theater" that ends with kanye in so many words telling us that to seek knowledge and wisdom in books, school, God, or others will unteach ourselves to be street. in other words, trust only yourself and what you know right now, and oh yeah, don't forget to buy, "street", kanye's album, marukami's t-shirts, jordon's nikes, and........there was a line, a long wrapping around the galleries line, like a concert, to get into the GIFT SHOP... to be a part of the action, part of the installation. i could no longer be in that world. total veneer, surface deep crap. so many metaphors could i write, but go see for yourselves.
i really tried not to be overdramatic or over anylitic but i was deeply troubled by what the ramifications of that show were and what they say and might mean for the future. hmm.
gordon's show was amazing, and beautiful, hands in the dirt, good human in the here and now stuff. so, so good.
while takashi wants us to escape, buy, and melt into his surface, digital world, gordon proposes making marks in this here and now physical world. they both deal in public vs. private space issues but in ways that again pit mind and imagination in a cyber type consumerist world against body, mind and imagination in dealing with what is here already and holding endless potential for renewal and intrigue. murakami is to prozac or labotomies what clark is to rediscovering what it means to be alive.

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