We don’t need no education/Brick in the wall

PICA’s TBA:11 Festival opened last night at Washington High School with the openings for the visual art exhibitions.

I haven’t been able to get that Pink Floyd song out of my head for weeks, thanks to PICA Visual Arts curator Kristan Kennedy. The metaphor of brick as building material and proletarian street weapon of choice/convenience fairly brilliantly sums up the armature on which Kennedy’s exhibition, Evidence of Bricks, hangs. So on my first run-through (almost literally) of the exhibitions last night, brick and clay loomed large for me (because one sees what one is looking for), as did fire as the element of un-building.

Walking into Kate Gilmore’s installation, it was funny to see the viewers all facing the video of Gilmore and her ladies barehandedly tearing apart the giant clay cube bit by bit when the actual site where the performance had happened was right behind them. The yellow platform and cube were stained flesh-colored (a color that felt very significant in this context) from flying handfuls of clay while all around on the floor was the mass of fragments of slowly drying clay. There were ladies’ shoes that had became stuck and were abandoned. The video actually makes the scene less violent than it feels.

Nearby, the violent promise of Claire Fontaine’s installation of a zillion green-tipped matches embedded on end in the wall in the shape of the United States remained potential. In Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen’s space, fire had done its damage — an ever-present threat to the fragile, paper-based archive. More on these projects soon.

Opening night is fun, a social way of seeing art, lots of talking about and around the work, lots of tangents. But I’m looking forward to going back and spending time…class is in session.


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