Saturday, March 15, 2008

Jennifer Steinkamp at the Albright-Knox

Last night we went to the opening of Jennifer Steinkamp's show at the Albright-Knox. None of the above images are actually from the exhibit, but they are the same or similar pieces. Before last night I was only familiar with her tree projections. The installation of the show is incredible, the Albright has a number of large high ceiling rooms (25 ft high I'm guessing), which are fully taken advantage of by the artist. In some rooms the projections go from the floor to ceiling and somehow project around the doors and windows. The visitors become part of the work as their shadows are cast on to the walls when they walk past the numerous projectors. This is most effective in the piece entitled Jimmy Carter, (see a smaller version above) which consists of four walls of undulating flowers. I am not sure how one is supposed to take the title of the piece, is it a joke about the ineffectiveness of his presidency or a sincere tribute to the man? It is hard to know which is worse. While I found the exhibit an inspiring demonstration of the potential of projections, I didn't really like the visual content of the pieces. Most of the forms have a 3-D metallic quality that I associate with the self consciously "digital" graphics and art of the late 90s (to be fair some of the pieces are from 1998). After going through the Steinkamp show we sat down in front of a Jeremy Blake dvd piece (it looked a bit like the wavy colors he used for the covers of Beck's Sea Change album) and I found myself wishing that I could see that piece filling an entire room.

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