November 3 – December 19, 1999
Beaver College Art Gallery
Miriam Dym, Halsey Rodman, Jennifer Steinkamp, Kathleen Johnson, Jason Rogenes, Robert Stone, T. Kelly Mason, Joseph Santarronmana, Shirley Tse, Dave Muller, David Schafer
GLENSIDE, PA. Beaver College Art Gallery is pleased to announce “Post Millennial Fizzy (Addressing the Possibility of the Future)”, a group exhibition considering utopia, dystopia, and 21st-century culture. Co-curated by painter Adam Ross and Julie Joyce, director of the Luckman Fine Arts Gallery at California State University, Los Angeles, the exhibition features multimedia works by eleven Los Angeles-based artists, most of whom are presenting their work on the east coast for the first time. The exhibition opens November 3, 1999 with a reception for the artists starting at 7:30 p.m. preceded by a slide lecture by exhibition curators Ross and Joyce starting at 6:30 p.m. in Stiteler Auditorium, Murphy Hall, adjacent to the Art Gallery. “Post Millennial Fizzy” remains on view through December 19, 1999. The exhibition takes its name from a fictional soft drink consumed in a novel about post-Y2K America by acclaimed author David Foster Wallace entitled Infinite Jest (1995). In his 1073-page epic, Wallace describes an entertainment-obsessed society addicted to a movie so engaging that anyone who watches it loses all desire to do anything else. Focusing on concepts related to the future, rather than a futuristic aesthetic per se, the works in the exhibition become platforms for speculation whose ends are as resourceful, critical, inspiring, or as preposterous as those found in Wallace’s novel. While many of the artists included employ some form of technology, just as many eschew it for materials that are pointedly handmade. Whether cynical or utopian in their projections, most of the artists emulate advanced ideas regarding marketing, design and lifestyle.
“Post Millennial Fizzy” was first presented at the Luckman Fine Arts Gallery, Los Angeles, a city – due in part to the industries and attitudes that rise from it – is often associated with the manufacture of the future. The show’s presentation in Glenside is funded by grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Friends and Advisory Board of the Beaver College Art Gallery.
Gallery hours are: Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., weekends Noon to 4 p.m. and Monday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and by appointment. Please call 215-572-2131 for additional information.
Additional information about the exhibition and the individual artists:
The yellow crystals displayed on customized green pedestals in Halsey Rodman’s The True Star Disappears in the Spotlight (1999) evoke the sparkling optimism of Star Trek architecture and design, elegantly demonstrating that the future has a past that may be recycled into the present. David Schafer’s Fast-Food Furniture Grouping Cluster 38/1 (1998) refers ironically to the engineering of space and the constraints it puts on the time people will spend seated. Both of these “fetish-finish” modular furnishings indulge our instinctive attraction toward the visual, and link what critic Doug Harvey called an “anti-visceral progressiveness” with formalist modernism.
Miriam Dym and Kathleen Johnson create sumptuous explorations of virtual landscapes. Dym’s 18-foot long schematic computer print Blue and Slate Map (with Orange Inserts) (1999) is an orgy of unintelligible information, while Johnson’s computer altered cloudscapes – with their occasionally exposed digital armatures – suggest the binary structure underlying all perceived
Reality. Several of the artists see digital hybridization as both a metaphorical and material construct of our millennial culture. Joseph Santarromana’s portraits use video and photographs downloaded from the internet to fuse images of himself with celebrities such as Beck, Morrissey, or Rose McGowan. Likewise, T. Kelly Mason’s Tilt (VITO) remixes a 1977 sound piece entitled Ten Packed Minutes by the legendary performance artist Vito Acconci with Mason’s own computer-generated audio signals to suggest the infinite stream of electronic transmissions that constitute our expanding global communication network.
Robert Stone and Dave Muller have elevated self-conscious (self-)promotion into an artistic practice. Stone’s Low Lawn Chair (1999), for example, is a six-piece ensemble that showcases a low-riding, handmade aluminum chaise with prototype sketches and photos of the chair in use with live models. Muller’s A Theoretical View from the Top of Dia (1999) is a multi-part watercolor panorama of Dan Graham’s Two-Way Mirror Cylinder Inside Cube (1981/91), a permanent Plexiglas pavilion on the rooftop of Manhattan’s Dia Center. Muller’s anachronistic naturalism – complete with flying seagulls – opens up new romantic and futuristic interpretations for Graham’s work, refreshing its intrinsic idealism while at the same time recasting the minimalist structure as an unwitting partner in an affectionate but nonetheless opportunistic “tie-in.” Extending our waning century’s love affair with reversing the value of found materials, Shirley Tse and Jason Rogenes both make innovative use of ubiquitous synthetic plastics. Tse’s Polyphantasmer (blue) (1998) is a low-relief made of tiers of intricately routed extruded polystyrene that float just above the floor. Rogenes’ Chimera (1999) is a ceiling-suspended assemblage of styrofoam packing material, trash-picked from electronics outlets and lit with fluorescent tubing. Both works exploit macro-micro inversions of scale and eccentric sculptural form to suggest models of docking satellites, hovering “motherships” and futuro-primitive architecture. Jennifer Steinkamp (born 1960) is the oldest and perhaps the most widely-recognized artist in the exhibition. She is represented by Flutter/Flutter (1996), a “pure” abstraction generated entirely by computer software. Projected onto a corner of the gallery, the work undulates at the pace of human breathing. A virtual-reality homage to Light & Space artist James Turrell, Flutter/Flutter is both stimulating and relaxing. Like much of the other work in “Post Millennial Fizzy,” it implies that, however dark the future may be, the new century will not be without its pleasures and its remedies.