Author: Rainald Schumacher --- Date: 02/04/96 --- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

January 20-April 14, 1996
The New Museum of Contemporary Art
Organized by Marcia Tucker

It works like a videogame. The key for the next level is hidden at the end. After you have passed all these little colorful creatures and paralyzed them with the power of your professional glance you get the key: a kitchen. This psychedelic, post-ecstacy space by Liza Lou throws you down to the bottom of all your arguments. If this kitchen is not a work of art, because it looks like some monumental kitsch, what else is it? A labor of obsession in craft, too beautiful?

The essay in the catalogue by Marcia Tucker gives an argumentative, historical, fascinating view into the long history which has divided high art and crafts. Is our understanding of high art connected to a concept of the direction a work takes? Either inside into the self or outside onto the other? It seems that we prefer the outside version. Don't mix it up with the seventies "your inside is out and your outside is in," or with the Lacanian difficulties to realize the Other truly. There is a difference, even if it is only a theoretical product of psychic socialization. The show questions the well established parameters which separate art and crafts and opens up the theoretical discussion once again. And it's true, something material has to be done, even after "art as an idea as an idea", but in which way? Or did you ever believe in the literal version of an artwork, beside literature itself? Or is it only a question of what you prefer, sensual facts or language? If art is somehow connected to the idea of how to use the possibility of freedom in a responsible way, then "A Labor of Love" opens this space to a middle ground, somewhere between low and high.

Liza Lou, Kitchen (detail)

Rainald Schumacher

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ed --

It's totally obtuse but its art