Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Yasi Ghanbari, YO! I’m Your C.E.O. @ Nurture Art

I am not sure what Yasi Ghanbari has against Tom from Toms Shoes, the liberal company that sells stuff and uses some of the profits to help poor people (apparently there is no Tom, just a guy named Blake). But I love that the art she makes really seems, in a cryptic way, to be sticking it to Tom/Blake. The centerpiece is an extended video where the artist, wearing no clothes, comically struggles, with the help of a man off-camera, to use her own backside as a stamp to decorate canvas colored drapes. The video screen is flanked by what might be drapes from the video, and her derrière stamps have produced a colorful flower print. The drapes are so convincing, I feel that I have seen them at IKEA. So much so that I almost suspect the video is reverse-engineered from actual IKEA drapes. Each set of drapes is paired with shoes that I assume are made by Toms Shoes and come from a pile of Toms shoeboxes in the corner of the show.

I think it’s fair to say that butt-printed curtains paired with shoes made to benefit the less fortunate is a critique, but I would be a little hard pressed to say how. There are also some white steps printed with a 90’s cartoonishly diverse ad for Benetton clothes featuring a varied cast of models, that I feel was shorthand for the 90’s tendency to over-correct for all the hate, racism, and misogyny in the history of modern culture up to that point. So I am also taking that one as a clear shot at Tom/Blake. Then there is a mannequin wearing a Toms shirt twisting on a yoga mat with, I want to say Toms coffee, and watching a slide show of the very white young Tom/Blake with non-western kids. Which again seemed like a pretty aggressive dig at consumerism trying to fix the world through selling over-priced luxury goods. And this all appears across form a very attractive video of Ghanbari in bed behind a screen of steam talking on her iPhone about, I think, art theory (it was a little loud at the opening and I couldn’t quite make out the conversation). Again I don’t know much about Toms Shoes, but I do love that the work has an edge and is taking on things beyond the art world. It is not something you often see in the Brooklyn art scene. You also don’t tend to see the level of execution Ghanbari brings to her work, which feels both professional and ambitious. Also the back of the press release has this charming list

Purchases made in this exhibition resulted in the following actions:

1 week of clean water (140 liters) was given to a person in need.

2 trees were planted.

7 pairs of shoes were given to 7 people in need.

1 pair of glasses was given to a person in need.

1 backpack was given to a child in need.

Through Oct. 10th


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