R E C E N T L Y,   A T   T H E
B I E N N I A L

BY VICTOR MASKELL


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Vaguely Disquieting Man in the Restroom
Solomon I. Culishan
Approx. 72", 185lbs, BLK hair, BLK eyes

Our sense of safety in the hands of institutional cultural edifices is a seamless embrace of privilege, particularly for the white male. In this piece, Culishan challenges these troubling displays prejudicial authority. The artist spends the day in the men's room. As new patrons enter, he circumnavigates the room, equipped with devices that are simultaneously the tools of both the protector and the potential attacker: a stick that appears to be a billy club, an electronic device that may be portable radio, a jacket that might be from an official source. He acts with a slightly threatening manner, causing unease for the men using the facility, forcing them to question their sense of safety and otherwise unassailable notion of superiority.


Bench
Sven Mokiers
72" x 24" x 18"
Wooden, Nails, Screws, Gunmetal Grey Semi-gloss paint

Mokier's work is about preconceptions of looking and being seen, interrogating the relationship between motion and rest. In our day-to-day lives, we don't often think about resting as anything other than fulfilling a physical need, part of the complex schema that informs the delimits of what is often referred to as 'modern life.' This piece is intended to force a wedge in the inevitable progress of living, giving the viewer opportunity to pause and consider the inherent beauty in simplicity and those things we do not typically engage. The viewer is also then subsumed into the project, ironically creating a tableau for inviting new viewers to do the same. This relationship comments on the inevitable isolation that such a disjunction produces.


Quarters, Stare
Mary Collmer and Dan T. Rossifvar
Approx. 1" x 1/16"
Nickel, Copper, Silver

The effect of commerce and marketing in making art is a topical taboo even in the radical offering of the Biennial. The thousands of appreciative viewers are barely cognizant of the ever-spiraling admission costs, the pressure to buy trinkets and catalogs, so enraptured they are by the very, very important art they witness. Collmer and Rossifvar expose these concerns by wandering the main stair hall, occasionally stopping to rest and stare at the other attendees. At random intervals, they leave an ever-shifting sum of money in the form of quarters and other denominations on a bench or handrail. They then stand and watch to see how long it takes for someone to take the money, as most viewers are disoriented by its presence, wondering if it is an installation whose value far exceeds the actual value of the change, and fear being charged that sum to repair damage to the delicate construction. In the end, everyone is left both frustrated and exhilarated at this powerful intersection of commerce and cultural value.




OTHER McSWEENEY'S STORIES
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You Can Go Home Again by Johann Livelb
The McSweeney's Allegory Contest Results
A Note on the Type by Benjamin S. White
The 'I Love You' Virus: A PSA by James H. Twinbein



 



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