Thursday, November 28, 2013

Modelling Behavior: the opening of Crotch

When one has something to do in their mind, in art, you have to do it. If you're not an artist, you just don't have to do all of this. And if you can't sleep under your truck, you never amount to a damn anyway.

This quote, of De Wain Valentine, lifted from a an conversation with the artist on the national gallery of art podcast from is a lovely analysis of the imperative that rests at the base of the artistic impulse. 

It was this quote, and the better part of an episode of Bad at Sports (no. 416 artist as arbiter panel), that I was listening to on my morning commute which inspired me to follow through on a long harbored idea, and .

The art as arbiter panel discussion from the 2013 CAA conference largely dealt with alternative and unusual exhibition and curatorial projects.  I'm a sucker for this type of discussion,as might be surmised from some of my past curatorial and participatory projects.  I'm susceptible to a type of infectious spirit gleaned from hearing about how individuals have plied the infrastructure of their own lives and situations to design a platform of creation, exhibition and conversation for other artists. This is a type of cultivation I groove on.  Its a compulsion and can feel like a weakness.
The idea lodged free by these audio selections is Crotch, a project space nestled in the crotch of a maple (I think) tree in our back yard.  Crotch was born as a one liner as I was bringing kork to a close in 2011.  kork was a project space situated (for three years) in the office of Bailey Browne CPA & Associates in Poughkeepsie.  A relatively low impact manner of posing challenges to artists, kork provided me with a the privilege of witnessing first hand the generative processes of artists' responses. Crotch promised to be an even easier-to-manage endeavor, but it fell victim to my constant exasperation of my own impulse to cook up these schemes at the expense of my own studio endeavor.
The Crotch venue
By the end of that heady morning commute mentioned above, I hashed out the details and the resolve to make Crotch happen over the course of this coming year, lest I regret not having done it after some point when we have left this apartment and this town of Beacon.

The tree in question, which has become Crotch, has been the setting of several works and actions for us here at Kamp MAYKR over the past several years and I thought it the perfect excuse venue to build on. Crotch is available for visits in person, by appointment, but it will probably mostly be "experienced" via a webcam feed embedded on the home page of
Crotch as the point of splitting, of branching out. Crotch as the embodiment of the crude, impolite, make-dirty business that is not discussed in proper company, or in towns that are working to regenerate and rebrand themselves as progressive, creative, tasteful communities attractive to the creative class.  Crotch as the point of departure for creative and procreative and impulses. Crotch as an acknowledgement of the erotic drive in all forms of making; art, place, baby, etc. 

Crotch is informal, private -with an option for publicness- natural, and slow.  Crotch moves on the pace of the changing seasons, and like our neighboring institution, Dia:Beacon, Crotch relies on rhythms of the day and natural light to illuminate its offerings. 

The webcam stream makes me consider the surveillance society we are in, in which so many of us offer up ourselves to surveiling. Also, another recurring theme for me is that of the nature of experience (primary, secondary, first hand, mediated, etc.), and the naturalness of what we frequently see and experience comes to us through a screen and is taken as a true experience and an accurate view.   The webcam's gaze is south facing, and much of the day, the tree of crotch is largely backlit by the sun. At certain times of the late afternoon the feed is bright and washed out by a cloud of glare.   Any particular artists work may be obscured by the limitations of this remote portal.  What can be gleaned is the context of that artwork's current setting.  The webcam's is a long look upon the slowly changing scene modified by the presence of one artist's contribution. 
Angelika Rinnhofer, My Period Piece

Crotch launched quietly in October with a work created, and surreptitiously placed in the tree, by Angelika. My Period Piece is a braid of colorful fabric emerging from the crotch and falling down the trunk to the ground. 
Although not really visible through the web cam, Angelika's ribbon of color activated the moss encrusted trunk....and gave the squirrels something to play with.

Crotch is currently occupied by a work by Matt Kinney; it's another example of the perk of instigating these kinds of projects.  We came home from lunch last Sunday, startled to find this milled piece of timber rising from the ground, strapped  to and at odds with the tree of Crotch.  Its a kind of Christmas to see these artists responses manipulate my surroundings and I feel myself the grand beneficiary of these efforts.

Matt's work is heavy effort and rigid tension but with a delicacy marked by the incandescent ribbon of yellow rope and strapping tethering the two poles.  The yellow rope glimmered in the Sunday Sun, linked to the slightly more earthy yellow leaves which have since been cleared from the ground by the lawn care guys.

Matt's work is an active force acting on the crotch, opening it up, maintaining it as a point of emanation.  I scheduled Matt to be the artist for November.  This current piece is actually his second effort.  Through a miss communication, his first piece was erected in on other spot on the property, a magnolia tree on the other side of the house.
Matt's initial gesture in notCrotch

This placement presented a dilemma for me.  I wasn't sure what to do. It happened. It exists as a manifestation of our communications and it was interesting because of that and it has value there.  It was in the crotch of a tree but it wasn't in Crotch.  Matt was relieved when i told him because he wasn't happy with the work anyway and was pleased by the opportunity to push another idea forward.   I think of that first attempt as a testament to the promiscous drive for an artist to make and do - that any crotch is a viable depository for those creative manifestations.   I hope he doesn't mind me showing this image of it, but I like that it is part of the process that brought this second piece into being.

Matt Kinney's piece will remain on view through December.  January's artist will be Matt Stolle.
If you're interested in visiting Crotch, send me an emaill at info at crotchprojects. com

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