Saturday, February 14, 2015

Annette Kelm, Archive @ Andrew Kreps

I have no clue what to make of Annette Kelm. I remember her pictures of odd museum displays from a group show at Anton Kern, I want to say this past summer? Same thing here, some pictures of museum displays of, I am gonna say, a show on sixties radicalism and feminist fashion? And then pictures of objects against a neutral background, like a pair of pink overalls with a political button, and a series of homemade tops covered in painted political slogans. The work seems to touch on politics and presentation and maybe some higher-end, Octoberish art-concept stuff, which is a little lost on me. I do find Kelm’s choice of things to dryly photograph compelling. But on some level, I am not sure these things need to be photographed. There seems to be evidence of something that might be explained in a terribly engaging New Yorker article, but as images they are perplexing and opaque. The things in the pictures do seem to reference complex topics, and the pictures are placed on the wall as art. I'm just not sure whether it is very smart work that I don’t understand or whether it's just bad art, and the opaqueness is a failure in the images. At this point, I am still a little fascinated and waiting to see how things play out.

Nope, just read the press release, which tends to reduce the images to interesting footnotes on explaining large subjects, but Kelm seems to show no interest or ability in communicating this photographically. The pictures just come off as illustrations for an academic text. Heck, at this point it would be more endearing to show the pictures with lots of wall text. But Kelm has chosen to present the pictures without a context, in hopes, I assume, of driving the viewer to read the text out of curiosity. But I've got to say, once I’ve done that, it becomes clear that the text is a more engaging form of sharing information than her photos. I even feel a little weird that there is a whole strain of art out there, which I feel Kelm is a part of that thinks I need to be tricked by unclear art into reading otherwise illuminating text about compelling ideas.

Through Feb. 21st


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