Picks :: Organized chaos

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June 21, 2010
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott

Organized chaos

// ‘Guillermo Kuitca: Everything’ offers maps, seating charts and house plans — but no clear directions //

Thankfully, the emotional impact is immediate.

Gazing upon Argentinean artist Guillermo Kuitca’s “Tietro Rojo” — an apocalyptic collage in which a curve of theater seating is blown to smithereens — you don’t need a docent to tell you you’re looking at something profound. The violence is intense. The colors are visceral. The anarchy and doom are exhilarating. Only later, and if you have time, might you want to ask about the relationships between seating charts and chaos, between what an audience sees in a theater and what it sees in a museum, and why an artist who started out obsessed with drama and painting would even bother with collage in the first place.

Gut reactions may prove to be the most reliable guide through Walker Art Center’s next major visiting exhibition. Although, getting bogged down in the show’s paradoxes might be a good way to go, too. On preview, “Guillermo Kuitca: Everything” seems to have fire power for both the head and the heart. All the big questions about space and architecture and emptiness and the theater are matched by potent moods and arresting visuals.

The exhibition, a near 30-year survey of one of the most independent voices in painting today, appears to have a lot to do with turning organizational structures against themselves. Subject to Photoshop, water baths and a warping drying process, seating charts become tools of disorientation. Road maps, with their impersonal treatment of location, get weirdly intimate once painted onto the surfaces of child-sized mattresses. Housing plans weep, shedding glassy tears from anonymous rectangles.  

To follow any of these maps by the letter is to get lost. But to grope through them in an emotional sense … well, that’s the strategy we plan on using.

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Smart phones become art phones at Pink Hobo

Don’t have an iPhone? Then don’t bother stopping into the new show at the Pink Hobo gallery. Without that little device, all you’re going to see is a bunch of pixilated squares. As a loose tie-in to this year’s Flashbelt conference, an annual Adobe Flash-oriented technology convention held in Minneapolis, the Northeast gallery has framed and hung a handful of QR codes on their wall as stand-ins for art. The boxy barcodes — a mess of pixels packed into a square field —can be “read” by most smart phones. Scan the image with your phone, and you will be taken to a website displaying the real art, which could be an animation, a blog entry or a digital illustration. The result is an online art show that you actually have to “go see” in real life to experience. Socially awkward techies, beware.