To One Whose Love was Service
Daniel Reich Gallery is pleased to present "To One Whose Love was Service," a premier collaborative exhibition by Amir Mogharabi and Sean Raspet. Conscious of the humbling effect of the late 2000s economic crisis on every business and cottage industry including the art gallery, the artists have almost parodically turned their practice towards the production of discreet objects for gallery walls assembling a fluid constellation of works that speak independently - together - to you - to me - to us... At present, their exchange value is inconsequential to the value of exchange in its varieties: of seeing oneself in another and (after much difficulty) of understanding what risks and fears permeate mutual interaction.
Like fallen leaves suffused with bourgeois spiritualism, elegant formal studies of folded paper are arranged around the gallery, with nearly indecipherable fragments of poetry crossing a lucid black ground, selflessly floating towards absence. While the artists have occulted the signature of the appropriated author, these educated modernist poems represent the artistic endeavor of collector, philosopher and patron of the arts Walter Conrad Arensberg.
Beneath reflective glass, each print produces two perspectives: one apprehended (we regard the image), one apprehending (the image regards us). Using poems by one of the most noteworthy collectors of the modernist era (who after acquiring a lithograph by Vuillard at the 1913 Armory show decided to return it in favour of a more valuable piece) the works mark the coincidence of underlying concept and experience.
Historically distant from contemporary art's new café society, Arensberg's illegible discards ask the viewer to confront the rudimentary function of aesthetic experience. Does one need a beautiful object animate or inanimate to unconditionally admire? Does the find a seemingly current Rosetta Stone yield clarity in its facile expiation of received ideas? Is the always-elusive prospect of completeness through material gain or historic accumulation, the hostile and ambitious root of love?
What is implicit in "To One Whose Love was Service" is the resituating of criticality within a dialogue in which we are already collectively engaged. This collaboration extends to what might be called the performance of the art world, in which artists, critics, curators and dealers play "roles." As Orson Welles' ominously observed during a 1979 Dinah Schorr interview: audiences are "an endangered species." They are themselves actors cast to occupy the seats of a simulated theatre. And as Welles' worried, without a real audience who knows the success of the performance...