Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Jeffry Cudlin: BY REQUEST

Jeffry Cudlin by Josh Cogan
OK... OK... work with me here... this is really cool.

Let's start with my good bud Jeffry Cudlin doing a set of performances this Friday where the very tall Mr. Cudlin dances in various DC art galleries (Conner, G Fine, Curator's Office, Hemphill, Irvine, and either Project 4 or Civilian), trying to get the directors to dance with him - that alone is worth tagging along to see Martin Irvine or George Hemphill doing the tango with Cudlin). He will be dressed the way he is in the PR photo above (by Josh Cogan) -- i.e., tucked, taped, and wearing a gold string bikini and go go boots. Video of it will be in the show.

Then Jason Horowitz is working on a 23' long, 8' tall photo for the show that I think we will all find interesting and will "make people at the opening uncomfortable."

Somewhere along the way Cudlin is doing a photo shoot with the highly talented and creative Victoria F. Gaitán that involves "realistic fake boobs (not like the ones in the PR) and a severed pig's head."

What is all this Mr. Campello? Just read the release:

This June, the ideal Washington, DC art show will take over Flashpoint Gallery. Artist, curator, and critic Jeffry Cudlin has engineered a celebrity-obsessed exhibition that purports to reveal in excruciating detail what collectors, critics, and museum administrators think area artists should be making.

For BY REQUEST, Cudlin approached seven DC art world luminaries and asked each to fill out a 20 page survey. Questions were all multiple choice, and attempted to uncover everything from preferences regarding paint handling techniques; to opinions about museum “fluff” shows and art blogs; to each patron’s personality type. Pink Line Project founder Philippa Hughes; blogger and critic Tyler Green; The Phillips Collection director Dorothy Kosinski; Irvine Contemporary gallery director Martin Irvine; National Portrait Gallery Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings Anne Collins Goodyear; collector and curator Henry Thaggert; and uber-collector Tony Podesta all agreed to play along.

Once the surveys were completed, Cudlin recruited an atelier of seven area artists working in a variety of media and styles. Torkwase Dyson, Victoria F. Gaitán, Jason Horowitz, Jenny Sidhu Mullins, Cory Oberndorfer, Kerry Skarbakka, and Trevor Young all accepted commissions from Cudlin to create personalized pieces based on the survey data.

There was one small catch: Cudlin insisted that he be depicted in every work of art, thereby inflating his own importance in brokering all of these transactions, and transforming himself into the show’s biggest celebrity. The resulting images are at times outlandish, featuring Cudlin cross-dressing, holding a severed pig’s head, and even sporting a pair of fake latex breasts, courtesy of an FX makeup artist.

In BY REQUEST, Cudlin plays with the notion—popular with many contemporary artists and theorists—that the chief content of art is social. If art ultimately depends on exchanges of information, capital, and power, then simply examining the agendas of people in positions of authority should tell us all we need to know about why art looks and works the way it does right now.

All of the finished pieces in the show will be assigned numeric scores by the seven patrons for whom they are intended. Critics need not second guess: the gallery will include informational displays of facts and figures indicating whether the patrons regard these works as successes or failures. BY REQUEST offers the promise of complete transparency for the DC art world and, perhaps, a model for other artists desperate to become relevant.
Sounds amazing uh? I'm really looking forward to this but I remember that the last Washington guy who promised "transparency" has really disappointed me lately; it's a good thing that I know that Cudlin won't.


Rogerrr said...

Lenny Lenny Lenny Lenny Lenny...

now I'm gonna be wondering all day what you'd look like in a bikini with fake boobs


Lenny said...

A lot hairier and sexier...

The Right Reverend James W. Bailey said...

This sounds entertaining, but I really wish art had the power to truly influence culture in a radical fashion, that art had the power to bring new thoughts, concepts and words into the mainstream vocabulary of every American citizen.

I wish performance artists operating in the insular self-referential world of modern art in particular had the same balls displayed by performance artists on the payroll of BP, for example.

BP's performance artists are truly amazing. In less time than it took God to flood the world so Noah could create the world's first zoo, BP has flooded my beloved Gulf of Mexico with oil and have forever radically altered the English language and our basic understandings of science and engineering with such artistic concepts as "Containment Dome", "Top Kill" and "Junk Shot".

Just 40 days ago before the flood started only those of us who live way down in the swamps of Louisiana knew what in the hell a blowout preventer was. Now, through the radical power of transformative corporate performance art and site specific art (Deepwater Horison - take that, Robert Smithson, try creating a Spiral Jetty one mile below the surface of the ocean!), EVERY American citizen knows the hell on earth that a riser pipe leads to.

Art still has the power to change the world. It's too bad that it's the corporate artists that are running the museums and galleries that are bringing us the true change we can believe in.