04 February 2009

mo(nu)menta finally

The L train wasn't running on Sunday so my trip to Williamsburg to go to Momenta turned into a trip to the Whitney. On the second floor was "Synthetic" which included the plastic surgery nose piece by Andy Warhol that I'd just mentioned in my "25 Things" thing on Facebook. They also had the Lynda Benglis floor pour with a Morris Louis flow painting on the wall nearby. Nice juxtaposition. Upstairs on the mezzanine was "Artists make photographs" with a nice Rauschenberg photo of chairs at Black Mountain, another Rauschenberg of "Cy and relics, Rome" (1952), and some images from Samaras's "photo transformations." All thoughtful and aesthetic. In the wall text for a Sol LeWitt piece on the 5th floor were the words "The idea makes the art." Not for everything but I love Sol LeWitt, partly because he's such a good example for "what is the work?"

Monday was looking good so I checked the Momenta website and they said they were open on Monday. Yea, let's go. I had sent a note to Holly Wilson about a couple "black" sightings: Hiroshi Sugimoto at Gagosian and the Rauschenberg four-panel collage-painting that was with the photographs at the Whitney. Her husband Vincent Como uses a lot of black in his art and Holly mentioned that he was also in the show at Momenta. Holly also mentioned that she really liked the Seher Shah works. And the reason that I had originally wanted to see the "Infinite Possibilities" show was that I got a notice from Carrie Moyer that she was in it. Quite a stack of expectations.

Seher Shah's drawings are delicate and finely crafted, not very big and almost icon-like. I liked the single one near the office best. I can imagine Holly responding to the pieces. Vince had three creased-paper works and a collection of nine panels on the wall 90 degrees to the creased paper. I especially liked the creased-paper work that looked like it was constructed of two pieces of paper, the one on the left. I thought about Ad Reinhardt and his black paintings. Perhaps the idea of Vince's nine panels was that they were JUST black, not varieties of blue-blacks and purple-blacks like Reinhardt.

There was also a work by Nathan Bennett in which he dangled some fluorescent light boxes from the ceiling, in homage to Dan Flavin and as he found the lights at the Ithaca Gun factory building. Since I'd walked by the Ithaca Gun factory many times when we lived on Falls Street in Ithaca, that work resonated in a number of ways. The tribute to Flavin was also interesting. Again, of this art moment rather than Flavin's, like Vince and Reinhardt.

Momenta used to be on Berry Street, near North 8th or 9th. Now they're down Bedford between South 3rd and 4th. I hadn't been that far South in Williamsburg for quite a while and the changes are significant. While I hate to see some of the gentrificational displacement, it was lovely to sit on the bench at Oslo Coffee Company with my really good latte and absorb some street life and some sun on a warm winter day. Somewhere else, Punxatawney Phil was checking for his shadow ... but I can never remember if we want him to see it or not.

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