my local artist ramble: Paul McMahon

image by Paul McMahon

Paul McMahon strolled into CPW this week to use our digital facilities to prepare a presentation he will be giving at the Metropolitan Museum today. He is one of the artists in the exhibition The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984 at the museum and his live musical slide show is a special event in conjunction with it. I showed him the little bits and pieces I know about Microsoft Powerpoint so he could construct his orgy of images which would synchronize with a live performance of guitar playing and vocals.

In the two years I have lived here I can honestly say that all Woodstockians are immensly unique characters. Paul is no different, and may even rise above the norm. He was so much fun to be around and was very inspiring to say the least. After all the hard work was over, he sang through his performance for Megan and I. It was seriously wonderful. We were laughing hysterically. makes me wonder why i take art so seriously all the time...

The Pictures Generation, 1974-1984 is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art till August 2nd.
Read the Art in America review here.

A few sentences from Douglas Eklund's essay which gives some valuable background info:

"...The famous last line of Barthes' essay, that "the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the author," was a call to arms for the loosely knit group of artists working in photography, film, video, and performance that would become known as the "Pictures" generation, named for an important exhibition of their work held at Artist's Space in New York in 1977.

The show featured 45-rpm records and projected short films by the California artist Jack Goldstein, who sampled and looped canned sound effects or film snippets that triggered Pavlovian responses of fear and dread in the imagination of the viewer. Slightly later, Richard Prince zoomed in on what he termed "social science fiction," the hyperreal space depicted in countless advertisements featuring gleaming luxury goods and robotic models. Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons worked at the intersection of personal and collective memory, rummaging through the throwaway products of their youth—from B-movies to dollhouses that served as training manuals for who and how to be—in search of moments that both never existed yet were indelibly stamped in the mind.

The image-scavengering of these artists was not restricted to the child's play of popular culture: Louise Lawler stalked the corridors of power in search of hidden treasure, while Sherrie Levine shot over the shoulders of photography's founding fathers not as a dry Duchampian gesture, but in order to create something akin to musical overtones—a buzzing in the space between their "original" and her "copy" that effaced the distance between objective document and subjective desire."


DVD highlight: PBS Craft in America

I started watching a wonderful mini-series PBS made called Craft in America. It is organized like Art21 in that the craft artists are categorized by inspirational topic (ie. Memory, Landscape etc.) The footage is beautiful and the commentary offers a historic overview of the particular craft and the way it has been transformed and modernized by the contemporary craft artists using them.

The handmade revolution is in full swing.
Check out the website here.