Wednesday, January 20, 2016

pattern & beauty

I had a bit of an "insider perspective" of Tony Orrico's work and the show "An Unnamed Need: Pattern and Beauty in Contemporary Art" since I am a Wriston Gallery intern and Tony visited my Studio Art Seminar class. As an intern, I helped out with some of the small details for the exhibition set-up such as hammering the plaques onto the walls with tiny gold nails, checking the screen that displayed one of Tony's past performances, and adjusting the insects, of Jeniifer Angus, that had tilted in the first room. In Tony's visit to my Senior Sem class, he discussed his practice and experiences as an artist and led an interactive activity with us. I engaged with him the next day over lunch and a critique session and got to take photos of his performance as a "photographer".

Since I am in a performance art tutorial with Professor Carlson, I have been thinking about Tony's work as they could be applied to different understandings of"performance art". I find it interesting that documentation/ the resulting "art object" and physical performance are both so crucial to his work, and also that he performs drawings in rotations--some drawings he has only done several times, and he does not practice them when not in front of an audience.

I really loved the show as a whole--especially with my interest in pattern and installation art. I thought the work was dynamic and worked really well cohesively. It is also so cool that we have work by Michelle Grabner, (one of the three curators at the 2015 Whitney Biennial and involved and numerous other cool-looking projects such as Poor Farm). I think I was most captivated by the first room--the colors of the insects are so vibrant and raw. Their ready-made/ assembled "wallpaper" nature of the insects made me think of Baudrillard's idea of the "museumized" and that "for ethnology to live, it's object must die" (13). I think Angus's work is effective because of the "real" color and the engulfing nature of the installation, and duality between beauty (design) and what is typically considered more grotesque (insects). I would like to learn more about her ethics for collecting.


  1. I totally agree with your thoughts about Angus' installation. That insect exhibit perfectly encapsulated the idea of museumization, but in such a purposeful way- they died and were preserved to create something new, rather than preserving the old for purely historical reasons. I guess that's the difference between art museumization and natural history museumization. Interesting to think about!

    ps- I have also heard that the insects all lived and died on their own and were collected after death in a perfectly humane way! (although maybe humane is not the word when talking about insects)

  2. I would be interested in knowing what state of mind Orrico is in when making his artwork. Are his movements cathartic? Yoga-eque? Meditative?

  3. I wasn't aware that Tony didn't practice his rotation performance thing unless he's front of audience, which all the more reason makes me applaud his ambition and courage when making these large installations. I wasn't exactly the biggest fan of his latest work, but I still love his technique & overall approach.

  4. Tiny gold nails. Those sound spectacular.

    I agree, very museumized. While I was not at the performance, it does seem like once the art is done and displayed it must lose a part of its purpose. I would be interested to hear others thoughts on this.

  5. I would be interested in knowing what state of mind Orrico is in when making his artwork. Are his movements cathartic? Yoga-eque? Meditative?

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