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DEAR NADIA Part 3., August 2010.

The End of the ‘Bring Your


Own Beer’ Art Space
DEAR NADIA: With Temple Bar programming and fiscal sense, not
Gallery ‘shuttered up’ for June, going hand in hand.
Monster Truck Gallery had a As a so-called ‘antibody against
real chance to make a strong the “blue-chip syndrome” that was
curatorial statement in their first af f e c t i n g t h e [ Ne w Yo r k ] a r t
‘real’ show at their new space community,’ the Wrong Gallery,
neighboring TBG&S. But NADIA, (Pictured), existed for 3 years
I say this with al l the future (2002-2005), as a modest, one
blessings for Monster Truck at their square foot of exhibition space. This
new location, the current show year’s lead curator of the Whitney
practiced too much of the ‘synergy’ Biennale, NY, Francesco Bonami,
that the press release proclaimed; wrote: The philosophy of the Wrong
forcing the 3 artists showing, into a Ga#ery dramatica#y reflects that of an
limp, formalist tug of war. entire generation of artists and curators
BLESSINGS whose goal is an oxymoran: to subvert
t h o u g h t c o n s e n s u s. Fo u n d e d b y
★ Maurizo Cattelan, Massimiliano
Gioni and Ali Subotnick, the Wrong
DEAR BLESSINGS: As a prelude Galler y exhibited work that
to a rant, I want to reflect on a challenged our consumption of art.
show that combined a successful Rather than the art object giving a
curatorial statement with formalist ‘key’ to potential narrativity, unseen,
underpinning. Curators, Adrian word of mouth mythologies offered
Searle and Greg Hilty’s ‘Unbound: juicy political gossip. Rumour or
Possibilities in Painting,’ at the with their polished, colourfully ‘conceptual,’ ‘For Sale’ fact, one commentator in the know
Hayward Gallery, London, 1994, trinkets; more gift-shop than food for thought. writes: Pawel Althamer hired two
was the precursor for a decade of At Monster Truck’s new space in Temple Bar, there Polish i#egal immigrants to smash in the
painting ‘play’ meets DIY seems to be no Raison d'être for the space, or the artists door [of the Wrong Gallery] with a
installation. The inclusion of Jessica so far involved. Mother’s tankstation proclaims in its baseba# bat every Saturday. This in-
S t o c k h o l d e r, t h e Q u e e n o f gallery statement that ‘mother’ should not be read as ventive inter vention, flips the
expansive painting and multi- the literal mother, but the young hubris at monster purpose of art, from one of being
coloured rubbish piles, served to truck could benifit from looking at the wise direction housed in a space, to a process that
i n v i te t h e ‘ Pa i n t i n g i s D e a d ’ at mother’s tankstation; style and substance go hand in has an exterior cause and effect; a
discourse at the time, rather than hand at the gallery. discourse on the gallery and the
highlight the importance of the The artist and writer David Batchelor, who’s work social function of art is hit with one
medium to contemporary art, that blatantly exploits the art world’s fear of colour, filled a baseball bat.
the title suggested. Was Stock- whole book on the disease he diagnosed as Ironically, what can only be
holder’s work really painting, or was Chromophobia. Without the thought provoking theory described as a negative ‘switcheroo’
it the ‘object’ that the ‘death of that surrounds Batchelor’s practice, his high-coloured effect - in relation to Monster
painting’ discourse needed on its lightboxes and readymades, would act as just another Truck’s repositioning - the Kevin
front cover? art world exploit of the formally kitsch kind. Kavanagh Gallery uproot from the
It is also important to mention This aside brings me to the 3 artists on show at City Centre in September 2008, to
that ‘Unbound’ was Pre-Relational monster truck, Helen Hughes, Barbara Knezevic and what ‘gossip’ has described as too
Aesthetics. The social insistence of Vanessa Donoso Lopez, have, I assume, been put far, and too much floor polish, at
Nicolas Bourriaud’s ideal for Art together for no other reason than the act of filling Chancery Lane, Dublin 8, is further
versus the formalist indulgences of space. ‘Precarious,’ the term Hal Foster coined recently reason for a much needed critical
painting in Searle and Hilty’s for the art of the last decade is here, but in a stale form. appraisal of the mentality that
curatorial, proved at the time that The reliance on form to produce metaphorical content drives production value and square
both avenues were perfectly valid. is jaded. That is why the previously mentioned meterage above the social or con-
In a way, the question is not which Stockholder came to mind while viewing the colourful ceptual reason for art to exist.The
one does the artist favour, but how assemblages and balancing acts at the gallery. But while current show, Regarding Painting,
the social feeds the formal and vice Stockholder’s work succeeded in generating an impetus lacks any rhyme or reason. OK,
versa. for more expansive thinking concerning formalist there is a big difference between
Monster Truck are an easy target, intrusions in space, this show reiterates the overly curatorial ambition at an artist-run
but their group show, Spooky Action, formalist crutch that artists use to avoid anything space, versus commercial gallery
has the tone of establishment; of bordering on the conceptual. Monster Truck - Temple efforts at pseudo-curatorial exh-
wanting to be with the ‘Big Boys.’ I Bar, in this display, looks like a showroom for their ibitions; with in-house artists and a
had flashbacks to the backstreets of ‘looser’ brand of art at Francis Street. You also have to few off-side stragglers as a side dish.
Venice, where, en route to the ask the question, how does Monster Truck survive in But, why don’t we take a bat to all
G i a ra d i n i a n d Ar s e n a l e, s m a l l Temple Bar, without a degree of commercialisation? this mediocrity, that is the ongoing
commercial art galleries tried to With location comes gravitas, but this is not always the prevalent theme of Dublin City’s
persuade the Biennale audience case for art institutions, TBG&S is an example of good current art malaise, and grow some
balls? PDF: http://dearnadia.wordpress.com
Contact: nadiaplease@gmail.com