August 14th, 2013
Artist: Andy Coolquitt
Venue: 21er Haus, Vienna
Exhibition Title: Bau haus, in the middle of our street, Bau haus, in the middle of our…
Date: July 3 – August 18, 2013
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of 21er Haus, Vienna
Andy Coolquitt collects things from the streets. Things that others throw away or leave behind: marginal objects from public spaces and non-sites. The artist categorizes the gathered items either as somebody-mades or in-betweens. Somebody-mades are things that somebody produced her- or himself and that might have a function. In-betweens are neither something nor nothing and are therefore mostly used as raw material for the production of legitimate sculp- tures. But the status of the objects is not really important for their reception; it’s just a decision the artist has to make at a certain point (and sometimes changes after a certain point). What is more important has to do with the individuality of these things and the social world they live in. So these discrete objects are not only fragile and ruptured in their very nature, but also question authorship and their own status. That leads to a precarious situation with their afterlife as exhibits, even though the objects already had something like a publicness in their past life.
So these things are complicated in their complexity as objects. To make things even more complicated, Coolquitt triggers a socio-economic reading of his shows by using aspects of contemporary retail store design to present his collections in museums and galleries. Asked about the aesthetic structures of this strong metaphor, he distinguishes three types: Comme des Garçons (a minimal theater), Urban Outfitters (1950s artist’s loft style) and the Salvation Army (an all-over). They describe three grades of Denseness and Openness. As in real life, these counterparts also compromise each other in Coolquitt’s shows. And they can be read as complication of the discrete and individual object in the aesthetic field as well as the complication of the individual subject in rural and urban society. For the exhibition + at Locust Projects in Miami (2011) Coolquitt constructed an architectural stage setting with four clear plexiglass walls. The plus-shaped footprint of the transparent display for his things thereby created a discrete object and environment at the same time, so their separation collapsed. For no I didn’t go to any museums here I hate museums museums are just stores that charge you to come in there are lots of free museums here but they have names like real stores at Devin Borden Gallery in Houston (2012) he presented small sculptures in a vitrine that just consisted of two protective sides while the other sides were open. This gesture of a display turned out to be a sculpture. In chair w/paintings at Lisa Cooley gallery in New York (2012), presentation structure und presented “sculptures” merged even more, as the gallery itself served as platform, being a retail-store- spaced somebody-made like most New York galleries from the very beginning. The travelling exhibition attainable excellence started out at AMOA-Arthouse in Austin (2012), and included an alley-like way behind a movable wall besides a more open space. That created a more intimate situation with the work while referencing a domestic space, and therefore transforming the objects into subject-like things. For the show’s version at Blaffer Museum in Houston (2012), Coolquitt made wide use of open and dense areas of objects, while placing scrap and leftovers on the floor. He turned the gallery into an entropic space and referred to empty store fronts, that contain an emptiness of abandonment, as opposed to the sterility of a clean well-lighted space.
Andy Coolquitt’s recidency in Vienna was defined by limited tools and limited time. His practice of collecting dirty but social minimalisms was successful, but again the question pivots upon the exhibition design. Which form of theatre best introduces this activity? Instead of focusing on the objects, the relation- ships of colleagues were considered, and he proposed a more active collabora- tion with the curator. A set of rules was recognized:
to: art handlers – put the stuff in the room
to: curator – finish the job
to: artist – take the day off
the casual, or first time viewer may reasonably ask “what’s the big deal?”, or “isn’t that the way it’s usually done?” it is therefore important to impart this one bit of information; that my sculptural concerns of the past few years have revolved around the nature of exhibition designs, around the domestic environment, and more specifically, the relation- ship between the discrete object and the mise-en-scene in which it exists so the nature of this exhibition revolves around translation. translation through an interpreter, or what we in the art world like to call a curator, of the residue from a few months of mindless tinkering … of the interpretation of feelings through stuff … of perceptions through material … of the insights that result from the insecurity of dislocation.
for me, as the artist of exhibitions, it is also an exercise in loosing control, of confusing the roles of producer and consumer, and of creating a possibility for a new perception.
i’m remembering this reality TV show (room raiders) from 10 yrs ago in which the primary contestant chooses his or her date based upon a visit to the domestic spaces of three possible contenders … now i’m also remembering an old punk rock friend back in the early 90’s, whose months-long obsession with a would-be was thwarted upon seeing a stone temple pilots poster in the bedroom.
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