In Dis-Play / Re-Play, the exhibit organized by Prem Krishnamurthy and Walter Seidl for the Austrian Cultural Forum in the Austrian Embassy in New York City, six Austrian artists play with the idea of art exhibitions, specifically with the classic image of the white-walled box-shaped gallery.
One of the artists, Brian O’Doherty, has been toying with gallery-as-concept since 1976, when he wrote a series of essays called “Inside the White Cube,” where he said that art on display has to have died to be there. His installation in DP/RP, “Parallax City (Rope Drawing #125)” is more space than work. A vividly if simply painted hallway, divided in three by colors, in more segments by taut-strung ropes. Everything is right angles and perspective and indirect lighting.
Judith Barry, another essayist on the topic of art-space, has provided a two-channel video from 1978 titled “They Agape,” featuring a punk rock soundtrack and two fighting architects in narrative. It is literally the story of building space without consensus.
Perhaps the largest of the displays comes from Martin Beck. In a two-story-tall installation with drifting Muzak, he features digitized pages of an artist’s notebook, perhaps the original context from which emerges all art.
Hermes Payrhuber, an edge artist known for his political art/performances, contributed “Ode to the Rope With a Knot With a Hole, for Thomas Bernhard,” a deliberate disruption of white gallery walls with violet graffiti, tangled ropes, and looming tripods. Thomas Bernhard, for the unknowing, is a post-war Austrian novelist whose will banned any use of his works after his death, another kind of disruption entirely.
Artist Gerwald Rockenschaub used the building’s support columns for his installation, using them to support a towering Plexiglas structure that casts the colors of the Austrian flag onto everything nearby. And two floors away, Mika Tajima’s work creates a similar effect, with over-detailed wallpaper showing through Plexiglas ‘furniture art’ in intricate patterns of light and reflection.
The space-transforming collection is almost at the end of its tenancy. The lease ends September 5th, after which the collection will never be seen in ensemble again.