Terry Adkins, CAM, and MONACO - Visiting St. Louis in a Pandemic
I come back to St. Louis, Missouri from time to time to see exhibitions and visit the zoo. Its well-funded public attractions and museums make St. Louis a very affordable city to visit. Visiting museums and galleries during a pandemic is definitely different. It requires you to plan ahead of time and many have online scheduling systems that you need to schedule ahead of time. Some small galleries were closed but I was able to visit three places; Terry Adkins at Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and Bite the Hand show at MONACO.
Terry Adkins- Resounding @Pulitzer Arts Foundation
When you book online, Pulitzer Arts Foundation offers the museum to yourself for 45 minutes from the selected time. The parking is free when you park in the garage close to the museum. Pulitzer Arts Foundation’s building was designed by Tadao Ando, an internationally famous Japanese architect.
Terry Adkins was interested in intersections of music and art. He would often take musical instruments to make sculptures. “My quest has been to find a way to make music as physical as sculpture might be, and sculpture as ethereal as music is. It’s kind of challenging to make both of those pursuits do what they are normally not able to do.” According to the brochure. The profound sculpture titled, Muffled Drums was created by stacking bass drums and mufflers. It was stacked so high that it almost touched the ceiling. I felt as though he created it to be a monument because of the size and presence it had. Terry Adkins’ sculptures are all exciting and complex. Variety of scraps and materials used, the interesting shapes they take. I would need a lot more than 45 minutes to observe and enjoy.
Down in the basement, there were books on display that Terry had in his collection. He read a lot of Dante Alighieri’s books. Next to the books were a few 2D works. He used torn pages from Dante’s books as a base. Repetition of patterns are painted with saturated pigment on top of the text. I thought the patterns are acting similar to musical notes.
The one major advantage to having the museum to yourself is that visitors get to talk to docents more often. They were all very nice and well-informed about the artist. At the end, I was guided outside by one of the docents to experience a sculpture by Richard Serra. I was not especially ecstatic to see the work because his work is practically everywhere. I saw one in LACMA and one in Naoshima Island in Japan. Joe, made in 1999 was a longer spiral than the other two that I experienced. I felt shielded from the outside world; whatever chaos and noise going on out there, which I was a part of a second ago. Terry Adkins: Resounding will be open until February and the museum will be closed for a couple months due to construction and cleaning. Visiting Pulitzer Arts Foundation will not disappoint. You will be welcomed by warm staff-members that are happy you are there.
Make reservations online before visiting. The show is running until Feb. 7th.
Great Rivers Biennial 2020 and Western Venom @CAM St. Louis
CAM is located right next to the Pulitzer Arts Foundation.
They were showing Great Rivers Biennial 2020 downstairs and Western Venom, paintings by Yowshien Kuo upstairs.
Great Rivers Biennial 2020 is a show consisting of three winners selected from proposals Rachel Youn, Tim Portlock, and Kahlil Robert Irving, each receiving $20,000.
Observing Tim Portlock’s computer assembled world, we can immediately tell something has gone very wrong. Buffaloes grazing on a high-rise building, abandoned neighborhood right in front of corporate buildings, and staircase that is free-standing in the air. The time it takes to build these worlds must be significant. I can compare the process to landscape paintings. He is “painting” these worlds with a stylus, mouse, and a computer program.
Next room, I was led to Rachel Youn’s installation. I was greeted with rainbow lights, a disco ball, and a room full of plastic plants kissing and embracing each other. Youn uses ready-made machines such as a foot massager and plastic plants were attached to the moving parts. I encourage you to walk around in the room, feel the overstimulation, peculiarity, and otherworldly experience. Youn has a residency coming up at ACRE, and is a promising artist in this generation.
Reserve free tickets online.
Western Venom by Yowshien Kuo
When you climb up the stairs and keep walking straight, you run into a private, intimate room showcasing an exhibition called Western Venom by Yowshien Kuo. On three black painted walls, four smallish paintings are hung appropriately. I first saw Yowshien’s works in person at LVL 3 in Chicago. It was a two person show with David Heo, a Chicago artist who graduated before me at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Yowshien’s works are exciting to see in person. Primarily because of its attention to details and different treatment of the surface. Different textures, Shiny vs. matte, glitter on certain parts of the figures, and saturated colors.
His work explores Asian American identity by broadening the preconceived notions of an Asian person by inserting himself in white washed Hollywood depictions of cowboys. Other important sources he brings into the works are movies, mythologies, and cartoons.
Bite the Hand @MONACO
MONACO is an artist initiative located on Cherokee Street. It is currently run by 10 co-directors.
Current exhibition, Bite the Hand features 21 intimate works by current and former co-directors at an artist run gallery, Otega y Gasset Projects based in Brooklyn, NY. I was happy to catch the show on its last day.
Open only on Saturdays 12-4pm but email them to make a reservation on other days.