By Catherine Wagley
By Catherine Wagley
By Wendy Gilmartin
By Jennifer Swann
By Claire de Dobay Rifelj
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Catherine Wagley
By Zachary Pincus-Roth
Takashi Murakami’s doing a new balloon piece to go under this little churchlike niche, and Josiah McElheny is designing this white room as an homage to Adolf Loos‘ American Bar in Vienna -- that’s sooo Beau Monde, Belle Epoque even. Jessica Stockholder‘s doing a big piece in the backroom, a piece I can’t quite figure out -- it contains pots and furniture and Los Alamos control panels. Marine Hugonnier is coming in to do these large bouquets she designs out of local flora, then paints with floral pigments, and which are replaced during the run of the show. And Jorge Pardo designed these lovely little blobs that go up the wall and on the floor as settings for Darryl‘s Mardi Gras costumes.
Those are some of the most surprising things you’ve included.
I discovered that this ”cosmopolitan“ art resolves itself in extreme simplicity at this point of generalization, like [in Ellsworth Kelly] where France and New England intersect, or it resolves itself in this complex mix of iconography, like Gajin‘s or Darryl’s work. You look at these Mardi Gras costumes, which are technically outsider art -- they‘re made for three or four parades every year, the guys sew on them all year, they go out and march in them, representing their tribes -- and you see these incredible mixtures of American Indian influence, a great deal of ancien regime, late-18th-century court costumes, Aztec bird-god costumes, Caribbean Mardi Gras costumes, all blended into this glorious bricolage. Darryl’s the fucking Schiaparelli of this shit. He‘s a very inventive guy. Darryl is currently the chief of the Yellow Pocahontas tribe, which is basically composed of Creoles. His father was the first great master of Mardi Gras costume design -- his name is Tootie Montana. He was the person who civilized these marches and everything, investing all their competitive edge into the spectacularity of the costumes. He was talking about all this, and he said, ”Before I come, everybody say, ’Get tough.‘ After Tootie, everybody say, ’Get pretty.‘“ If there’s anything here to do with my theory of beauty, that‘s pretty close. It’s one of those primal sublimations: the civilization of competitiveness.
Does that run through all the art in ”Beau Monde“?
It runs through most art that is social and competitive. An institutional take on art that suppresses the competitive nature of the objects you‘re making tends to take something fairly vital out of the whole activity. Competition is not fighting. And winning is not killing. You know what I mean? They’re not the same thing. Competition‘s not violence -- in fact, it’s the first not-violence. You can‘t compete without your competitors. It’s a social activity. So I think to presume that we‘re dealing in this realm of autonomous expressions to which we ascribe no real value is sort of foolish. I don’t think art is about anything else but value. There‘s really only one question -- is it good or bad, and why, and let’s argue. I want to win, in the sense that if I get the show to look the way I want it to look, what everybody else thinks is interesting to me, but if everybody hates it I won‘t consider it a failure. That’s a new aspect of the art world for me.
I’m going to go home and read three 700-page books. I just got [Louis Menand‘s] The Metaphysical Club. Curating does not have enough reading and writing involved with it. It really doesn’t have enough looking involved in it, you know?
Do you think ”Beau Monde“ will set an example for how it can be done differently?
I honestly don‘t think so, but it might serve as permission for others to make up their own fantasy teams.
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