- London Biennale
- Through August 28
- Window installation at Contemporary Art Center
- 107 E. Charleston Blvd.
In recent months, some of the most interesting work in the arts district has bypassed the galleries altogether and taken to the streets. For starters, there are the neighborhood’s countless terrific murals, more visible than ever with the ACE bus line careening down Casino Center. Trifecta Gallery’s new art-filled window on Charleston makes it hard to keep your eyes on the road while navigating an already dodgy intersection, not to mention the interesting wheat paste posters materializing on utility poles. But the freshly rotating exhibition inside the Contemporary Art Center’s front window emerges as a most unexpected gem.
The spacious, enclosed window occupying prime real estate has often served as a companion piece to CAC exhibitions, hovering somewhere between an arterial gallery and advertising space. In recent months, though, the CAC re-imagined the pocket as a gallery all its own, soliciting artist proposals for the newly christened East Side Projects. Those projects have ranged from Jean-René Leblanc’s luminous, gender-neutral black and white “Body Ritual” photographic portraits, to local artists Nico Holmes-Gull and Wes Fanelli’s “Ultimately,” a thought-provoking and risky consideration of the closet in gay culture.
This month marks the mini-gallery’s international debut with satellite participation in the appropriately transient London Biennale. Biennale mastermind, conceptual artist David Medalla, sought to develop a community-based art event, partly inspired by the iconic statue of Eros that graces London’s Picadilly Circus with bow and arrow in hand. Local coordinators are invited, often through social media, to organize performance projects in which artists create a simple arrow. Participation occurs globally, without committing to a specific geographic location. Local artist Jevijoe Vitug, coordinator of the CAC’s event, cites the gallery’s curiously “inside/outside” condition between public and private as a perfect fit for a happening that rethinks the exclusive confines of a traditional biennale.
Artists were invited to bring home-made arrows to First Friday as part of a performance staged inside the window, resulting in an installation accompanied by collateral, performative residue. The arrows vary in quality and artistic merit, from photographs to shovels, but that’s not really the point. They are raw and magical, like handmade talismans. Associations to artifacts and artistic, ethnographic or natural history institutions are all present. And the specter of Eros is undeniable—all brotherly love and compassionate community.
A celebration of the very act of making lies at the core of this event. Even more significant: the demonstrated power of a creative community working toward one goal without ever meeting face to face.