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The Haas Brothers, Meditation not Medication (2017) - edition 500
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The artists have donated the proceeds from the sale of the video to benefit Promesa Boyle Heights.
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"Our first animated piece Meditation not Medication is a character study of a little monster whose purpose in life is meditation. As he closes his eyes he drifts into visions and comes back occasionally to a blissed out present. The video itself is meant to function as a visual meditation. Using imagery from our own meditations on geometry, color and natural mathematics - we hope to engage the viewer in a short guided vision quest."
- Simon and Niki Haas, August 2017
Pamela and C. Richard Kramlich
The Ultimate Video Art Retreat
SAN FRANCISCO — Pamela Kramlich clearly didn’t know what she was getting herself into when she bought her first work of video art in 1987. Having seen a deliciously zany video, “The Way Things Go,” by the Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss, she thought it might provide amusing dinner-party entertainment at her house in the Presidio Heights section of San Francisco.
She telephoned the Sonnabend Gallery in New York to inquire how to obtain it. “That’s easy,” the gallery’s director, Antonio Homem, told her.
She supplied her Mastercard number and a short time later, as she recalls, “a videotape with a funny sticker” arrived in the mail. Produced in an edition of 300, the tape of “The Way Things Go” cost her $350.
In the San Francisco townhouse, the art is placed everywhere you turn, in spaces public and private. Snaking up the staircase is Dara Birnbaum’s five-channel video installation of news coverage of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Holding forth in the master bedroom is a Reinhard Mucha work of 1994-5 that features a cheap equipment stand for a 16-millimeter film projector, its speakers duct-taped to the poles. The projector beams a looped video of Mucha’s toddler son repeating the word “auto,” opposite a light box image of the artist as a young boy. “It made us think about our family histories and how important our relations are with our children,” Ms. Kramlich remarked.
Owning a time-based media work poses extraordinary exhibition and conservation demands that the Kramlichs fully appreciated only as they moved forward. In 1997, recognizing the dearth of institutional support for this kind of art, they established the New Art Trust, which they run in concert with three museums — the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Tate — and to which they have promised 35 art works as gifts.
Let us try for once
Marian Goodman Gallery New York
March 1, 2019 - April 20, 2019
KABOOM!, 2018 inaugurates the exhibition: a three-channel work projected onto a model scaled to the stage of The Head & the Load, alongside charcoal drawings used in the production. Birds, soldiers, historical figures, waterfalls, and landscapes recreate an imaginative topography in the North
Gallery. “The head and the load are the troubles of the neck” goes the Ghanaian proverb. The Head & the Load tells the story of the nearly 2 million African porters and carriers used by the British, French and Germans during the First World War in Africa through music, dance, film projections, mechanised sculptures and shadow-play. Invoking war and history itself as a subject, the charcoal drawings for projection provide a backdrop to Kentridge’s signature trope of procession, a pageant of “what we’ve chosen not to remember”: porters bearing the physical load that was carried all across Africa, but also the historical legacy and paradoxes of colonialism, magnified by the war.
As Kentridge says, “This was not its starting point of The Head & the Load, but it is what the work itself, the material we were dealing with, pushed us towards. By the paradox I mean the contradictory relationships towards Europe – the desire of Africans to be part of Europe, to share in the wealth and the richness of Europe, and wanting to resist Europe and its depredations.”
If, as Kentridge says, the process of recording history is constructing from reconfigured fragments to arrive at a provisional understanding of the past, so is the act of recording, dismembering and reordering [an] essential activity of the studio: “This dismantling is not simply a technique or strategy, but also can be a revelation of the instability of knowledge in the world, its provisionality. The collage and the ordering becomes the subject itself.”
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