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Lucy Hogg
Artist

New York City
November 14, 2013

Lucy Hogg's work is on view until December 22 in Quotation, a group exhibition curated by Pan Wendt at the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. She currently lives in New York City, after having moved from Vancouver in 2003. Since shifting from a painting practice five years ago, her recent work is photo-based. Her photography examines the contexts in which art is exhibited and made, while relating those situations to the material aspects of everyday life. Her painting projects were also parasitical and looked at the history of 17th, 18th, and 19th Century painting from the point of view of gender. She also has a secret life as a photojournalist.

1. Mike Kelley at P.S.1

The first time I went to this show I was struck by how Kelley wasn't exempt from channeling the styles of each succeeding decade: early drawings typical of student work of the early 70s, precocious performance with minimalist props documented by grainy video in the late 70s, bratty large black and white drawings of the 80s (Borofsky and Pettibone come to mind), slacker stuffed-toy installations of the early 90s, and then the pumped up video/stage-set extravaganzas of the last years. Although that is a bare listing of the breadth of his production, his work channeled all possible modes of art production over the last thirty-five years. The second time I went I realized how many of my students over the last twenty years have completely absorbed his gestalt. I felt like I was reliving my entire teaching past.

2. Amie Siegel at Simon Preston Gallery

This show is down, but Siegel is now on my Google alert list. Provenance traces the path of a 1950s Corbusier chair, originally designed for a government complex in Chandigarh also designed by "Corbu," in what was then the government capital of the new Indian state of Punjab. Framed in its own modernist aesthetic, the film is a luxurious travelogue of interiors that seem to be continually sliding past as you follow the chair's trajectory backwards from its final resting place in a chic London loft to the auction house where it was sold to a high end refinishing factory to a shipping container gliding across oceans to moldering in piles in the deteriorating modernist buildings in India where it began life. What we don't see is any documentation of its first incarnation. That moment is irretrievable.

3. Omer Fast at the Rose Art Museum

I haven't seen this particular installation, but I saw 5000 Feet is the Best in 2011 at the Venice Biennale and went back twice to take it all in. Off-camera, a former drone operator describes the technical aspects of his job and its psychological difficulties. A re-enactment depicts a lonely alienated figure sequestered in a low-end hotel room sandwiched between glimpses of the outskirts of Las Vegas. This is woven among three other narratives of grifters in casinos, an American suburban family suddenly becoming refugees, and a man impersonating a train operator. Fast's work is a contemporary version of history painting. It attempts to recall events that otherwise seem to be forgotten, as one failed military intervention replaces memories of the previous one. If digital archiving doesn't fail us, we'll be looking at this work fifty years from now to try to make sense of these histories.

4. Sophie Calle at Paula Cooper Gallery

I've read about Rachel, Monique before, and reading about it can almost seem like enough, but to spend time among the artifacts of her ruminations on her mother's life and death is like spending time in someone else's apartment while they are absent, with instructions that you go through their papers. Her work is too easily written off as sentimental, but the only other place I've seen that kind of vulnerability treated is in the typological displays of Mike Kelley's homemade comfort toys (or "transitional objects"). Compared to the objects in Calle's installation, Kelley's seem stuck in emotional stasis, unable to move on.

5. Bagels

I had a conflicted response when I heard that Montreal bagels could now be bought at the Whole Foods store in Union Square. They will become slightly less exotic, but I will still keep booking flights from NYC to PEI that connect at the Montreal airport where you can buy them fresh, a dozen at time.

 

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