Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

SFMOMA bits and pieces

September 19, 2006

While visiting the Matthew Barney exhibit at SFMOMA, I came across some other tidbits that were too good not to mention. The current display of contemporary painting and sculpture on the 5th floor contains one of the marvelous paintings of Marilyn Minter, Strut (2004-5). Minter has received increasing attention lately for her photorealistic paintings about the nature of glamour both in a solo show at SFMOMA in 2005 and this year’s Whitney Biennial. Also in the galleries at present is a lovely Gerhard Richter portrait, Lesende (1994) and a wonderful piece from Rachel Whiteread that reminded me of the very stirring installation EMBANKMENT (2005) at the Tate Modern I saw in London earlier this year.

Phil Collins, dünya dinlemiyor, 2005
© Phil Collins 2005
However, I found the most interesting piece to be a new work from British artist Phil Collins. Entitled dünya dinlemiyor (2005) Collins traveled to Istanbul where he filmed volunteers who had responded to a local ad to perform karaoke versions of their favorite tracks from the Smiths 1987 recording the world won't listen. All ther performances were filmed with single head-on shots in front of banal department store photo backdrops of alpine or tropical island scenes. He has done this before in a similar work filmed with participants from Bogotá, Columbia. The work implies much about the tensions between East and West in the developing and developed world. It also has much to say about the role Western pop culture plays in these developments. Most surprising is how intese some of these renditions are. While at times played for laughs, these performances are simultaneously serious in a very dark way.

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