Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Down to Earth

U-Turn Art Space is about to come to an end.  It feels sort of like the last episode of Friends , that weird nostalgic ache, that sense that a group of people who made something both approachable and unique, culturally aware but also down to earth, is over.  And there's nothing that can take its place, not even reruns. 

I first stumbled onto the space last July and got mesmerized by the glamour and chutzpah of a show called "The Place You Made to Find One Another," featuring the works of Eric Ruschman and Patricia Murphy (two artists who also helped run the space).  The exhibit had a ghostly cast of misfit sculptures and intricately conceived paintings, but also a sense of finish and what I call "there-ness," meaning it just seemed like a show that came fully intact from somebody's brilliant brain, like Athena busting out of Zeus's skull, or a crazy chandelier dropping out of the sky and landing without breaking right in front of you.  There was an easy-going pretentiousness that I loved in that show, and every other show I saw there also had that knack to be both sophisticated and unfussy, brave without showing off.  Each show examined the limits of what art can be, while expanding the way you can appreciate those limits, like Duchamp without fustiness.  Each exhibit, it seemed, offered a new brand of readymades, a new centerstage urinal.

But something else:  an enthusiasm and naivete tempered with glittery wisdom.  Nothing heavy-handed, but a sort of gravity through the curatorial choices made, the careful consideration of how art got installed and lit and talked about.

So thank you Matt Morris, Molly Donnermeyer, Zachary Rawe, Patricia Murphy and Eric Ruschman.  What an incredible sitcom you created.
Here are the shows I wrote about:

"The Mechanics of Joy"
"moon in the wall, hope it don't dissolve"
"The Place You Made to Find One Another"

The final show at U-Turn, "Aloha Means Both Hello and Goodbye" opens this Saturday, June 4, 2011, witha a reception at 7 pm to 10 pm.  (Bill and I were asked to be a part of it, and we're so happy to be.)  U·turn Art Space 2159 Central Ave.  Cincinnati, Ohio Please come and show the U-Turners how much they meant to Cincinnati art, and just plain old art in general.