The best thing for me about the day I went to the Whitney Biennial, a few weeks back, was when my friend and I took a half-hour break (we were waiting to see some of the Biennial films), and went to the Starstedt Gallery where Jenny Holzer’s exhibit Endgame awaited us. Another word about the disappointing Biennial though: one of the few works that I did enjoy was Portal by the band Red Krayola, an interactive piece hidden on the 5th floor mezzanine where one of the Red Krayola members is skyped in at all times available to converse with the viewers if they have any questions about the large sketchbook in front of them, in which everyone is invited to contribute. It was fresh, fun and cracked me up, especially since most of the time Mayo Thompson (the Red Krayola who was there when I visited) was flipping through his newspaper, making it unclear if what we were watching was a video or live until he started chatting. Here’s the only photo I was able to find, unfortunately the seat is empty in the photo.
But, back to the subject of this post: Endgame. Holzer, known best for her wonderful LED word sculptures, continues with her redacted government document series, but many of these include color and have a slicker finish to the geometric shapes created by the censoring. She has made these into beautiful abstract paintings that exacerbate how much one is blocked from seeing. There is a Constructivist quality to these paintings that could suggest a social purpose, while the lighter colors and chromatic fades might suggest a hopefulness and optimism.
What I know, without doubt, is that walking into the gallery, a lovely house in itself, was a breath of fresh air and a confirmation that wonderful art is alive and well, even if not at the Biennial.
Jenny Holzer’s Endgame is on view at the Skarstedt Gallery in NYC through April 7th, 2012.