February 2009, Rirkrit Tiravanija @ NYEHAUS

February 2009, Rirkrit Tiravanija @ NYEHAUS
Rirkrit Tiravanija, Installation View at NADA Art Fair, Miami, Untitled, 2008, (the future will be chrome), mirror, polished stainless steel and glass, 108 x 60 x 30 in., fabricated by Cumulus Studios

The National Arts Club
January 22nd through February 21st, 2009

By Appointment  
The only way in to view Rirkrit Tiravanija’s installation at NYEHAUS is through the National Arts Club. NYEHAUS is the only gallery in the adjoining building which is rented out by the N.A.C. NYEHAUS was founded by collector, curator and philanthropist, Tim Nye of a family foundation and art organization that commissions contemporary art.  Since 2008, fulfilling a certain criteria of social commentary, Cumulus Studios works with artists to fabricate “functional” objects of art. 
Alternative spaces in huge lofts and old, abandoned factories such as the Institute for Art & Urban Resources/P.S. 1 had, as their underlying principal, the concept of sculptural or cinematographic remnants of the individual minds of people and nations. Presented like spontaneous pantomimes devoted to geniuses such as Joseph Beuys, Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman, Bill Viola, Lawrence Weiner, Agnes Martin and Andy Warhol, the artist’s work evolved into a precursor of social change. Luc Tuyman’s exploration, through his paintings, of the world of Walt Disney also reiterated this idea. On a certain level, with all of its chromatic glitter, such as in Of Course In the Future Everything Will Be Chrome, 2003 (Oil on Panel), Tiravanija proved that his experience was one of being an “insider.”  Everywhere, the ping pong table is synonymous with local relaxation, but first and foremost, this show is about smaller rooms. 
The Collector, Anthony d’Offay has also been, in collaboration with the Scottish Government, creating a national collection of artists’ rooms including Vija Celmins, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Ellen Gallagher, Johan Grimonprez and Francesca Woodman. Revisiting the creation of rooms as an art form presents artists with a Joseph Cornell-like, compact visualization than the “outdoor” sculpture that existed with the Minimalists. Or, oppositely, with the “abstract” architecture of Frank Gehry, the “outer” sphere is being revolutionized.  Smaller rooms lend themselves better to certain kinds of “inner” thoughts and Rirkrit Tiravanija uses puppetry to show this.  
Tiravanija’s installation of puppet versions of himself, Phillipe Parreno, Pierre Huyghe, Liam Gillick and Hans Ulrich Obrist focus on objects rather than people. They are perched on a windowsill which serves as a grandstand for the ping pong game which is about to begin. The ping pong table, Untitled 2008 (the future will be chrome), (mirror, polished stainless steel and glass, 108 x 60 x 30 in., fabricated by Cumulus Studios) is situated in the main room of the gallery.  A 16 mm film in black and white, (rt: 12 min.), Untitled (Ventriloquist Performance #1), 2005 is of a ventriloquist and puppets, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Philippe Parreno engaged in a conversation. 
Rirkrit Tiravanija is a New York artist with Argentinian and Thai roots.  The puppetry tradition of Asia including Borneo, Burma (Myanmar), China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam is well known. From Latin America, there are puppets from Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela dating back to the Conquistadors’ descriptions of performances by the Indians. The Cortez expedition to the Yucatan included a puppeteer to amuse the troops. Cooking Corner, 2004 (chrome pot, chromed burner, chromed gas tank, and 3 stainless steel plates, 36 x 36 x 36 in.) is reminiscent of the Thai food Tiravanija prepared at 303 Gallery for gallery visitors (many of whom, I’m sure, were “starving” artists). Rather than being pressured to make art to fit into unrealistic requirements, the creative barometer of the artist is not compromised. 
The historic Tilden Mansion‘s façade was overhauled in the 1870‘s by Calvert Vaux, one of the architectural designers of Central Park.  The Club’s membership has included painters, Robert Henri, William Merritt Chase and Cecilia Beaux; sculptors have included Saint-Gaudens and Daniel Chester French, photographer, Alfred Stieglitz and architect, Stanford White.  

Wandering through a myriad of hallways are paintings by the principal exponent of Impressionism in New Jersey, Edward Dufner, Woman Camper, (1940, Oil on Canvas) by James Montgomery Flagg (gift of the Hearst Corporation), Her Mother‘s Dress, by Josephine Paddock (formally trained at The Art Students‘ League of New York under Robert Henri, William Merritt Chase and Kenyon Cox), Helen M. Turner, Ernest L. Ipsen, (Artist Life Members, 1916). Rirkrit Tiravanija explores the boundaries of our minds. When it comes to personal experiences who and what we think about is quite different from how rarified our existences are.  Art like this serves to expand the boundaries of private space to include our mind’s eye.

whitehot gallery images, click a thumbnail.

Claudia Schwalb

Schwalb graduated from Pratt Institute in 1974.  She was an emerging artist during the Minimalist movement in the 1970's.  She was raised in New York City during the Abstract Expressionist era. Claudia was the youngest artist ever to have a solo exhibition at The Clocktower/P.S.1 in 1977.  Claudia went on to write for Barbara Rose's Journal of Art and was one of the Contributing Editors of Cover/Arts New York along with John Yau and Judd Tully (Editor-at-Large for Arts & Auction).  She was Curator of the Knitting Factory and a television news transcriber for Peter Jennings' World News Tonight.  Subsequently, Claudia transcribed two movies, "Refuge" and "Interview with the Dalai Lama" which played at the Quad last year.  claudschwa@aol.com

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