Sunday, February 23, 2014

Loren Munk You Are Here. Freight + Volume through March 15th

The first thing one notices (or at least I did) is the bright electric colors, and then the scribbles, notes and writings, which are also painted in garish colors on the canvases. They look like posters for carnivals, comic books, board games, an art world candy land A Go To The Head Of The Class, (the small portraits of painters of the 80’s canvas are especially reminiscent of the student board pieces that came with the game). Munk is showing us his take on New York City art world history told through maps and diagrams that chart and list the names of art movements, moments in time and above all thousands of names of artists, critics, curators and other movers and not so shakers that have passed through the art world for many years that flow and climb through these timelines of 20th Century art history.  That these paintings are bright, busy and colorful is obvious, and they are also conceptually dense, daunting and loony. These are zany works that Rube Goldberg and Ad Reinhardt might like (well maybe not Reinhardt) and are also abstract works, patterned and decorative that Munk piles high on his plate. They are so likeable. For all the names & history plopped down in front of our eyes there are of course omissions as Munk so readily admits to. I was a pioneer in loft living in Chelsea for 31 years and this fact is not included in the map for artist’s neighborhoods. However I did see my name painted in white on a lime green background for a list of artists included in the seminal conceptual art show “Information” that was held at the Moma in 1970, and it was an odd moment for me among many odd moments to be found in this show. It was sort of like seeing my name up in lights on a Broadway marquee,”top of the world Ma” as James Cagney screams at the end of “White Heat” as he is about to be blown to smithereens . Also impressive of course is the amount of time and patience it took Munk to do these works that are like a high-pitched beautiful fever dream.


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