'Public Protest Battle', Closing Reception at Gateway Project TONITE
On April 30th, I attended, with my friend Jerry, who came in from Manhattan, the opening of the "Color Polemics" art show at the Gateway Project space in Gateway II. (Gateway Center is Downtown Newark's premier office complex.)
I was, frankly, confused by the advance-notice emails I had received about the Gateway show, in that they made it sound as tho the space devoted to an art gallery in Gateway Center had been massively expanded, whereas it was actually shrunk. In place of exhibition space, much of the area had been chopped up for individual artist studios, almost none of which had, as of that date, been leased.
There were some worthy pieces of two-dimensional art, a few of which I depict today. The works were supposed to fit within the conceptual framework of "Color Polemics", described below (from an email from The Gateway Project).
The opening will premiere ... "Color Polemics: Unpacking the Movement Towards Racial Equality and Identity in America" (with works by Ayad Alkadhi, David Antonio Cruz, Derrick Adams, Chiraag Bhakta, Hank Willis Thomas, Himanshu Suri, Jc Lenochan, Kameelah Rasheed, Kara Walker, Laura Kina, Lunar New Year, Nick Kline, Nina Chanel Abney, Nyugen Smith, Richard Barnes, Tomie Arai, Travis Somerville).
That is the show that is closing tonite (May 28th).
There is also to be a performance-art "Battle", the third of three, that was described in an email about one of them that did not arrive in my emailbox until the day itself (so I did not go), described thus:
The Battles are a series of live and interactive performances that center around the artists [sic] piece Public Protest Post. The public is invited to engage with the mics and music and present poetry, rap, dance, song, spoken word, and a variety of other verbal and visual interactions with the piece.
So bring your A-Game and your voice, and join us for the PPP Battle!
As for PPP's host, his (her?) work is described below, in the indecipherable and pretentious verbiage I term "art-ese", that is employed by all too many arts organizations today. (I actually do not know whether "Jc Lenochan" is male or female, and HATE it when people use initials rather than a gender-specific name. Indeed, it should become a commonplace courtesy to the reader that people whose names are not generally known to apply to one sex or the other put "Mr." or "Ms." before their name. I recently discovered that there are some people whose parents stupidly named a girl child "Kevin". Those parents should be flogged, and that inappropriate name should be changed by government. The Soviet Union had to crack down on insane names, like "Tractor". I admire very little about the Soviet Union, but that is at least one I agree with. All the crazy names we are seeing nowadays, like "Rocket", "Rebel", and "Moon Unit" should be changed by government, and the parents who inflicted them should be flogged 200 lashes of a cat-o-nine-tails — unless a bullwhip would hurt more, in which case they should be flogged 200 lashes from a bullwhip.)
You might get the feeling that these strings of cant or jargon actually mean something to the people who issue them but that those meanings are so deep within the person who utters them that no one else has so much as the vaguest idea of what they're talking about. Perhaps artists should stick to the visual and let a WRITER set out what they are trying to say, in terms that people outside the artist can understand. Visual arts and writing are different skills, and not every visual artist is capable of expressing him- or herself in writing. S/he doesn't have to. That's what writers are for, and every arts organization should recruit WRITERS to explain in words what their artists express in visual forms. There are over 7 billion people on Earth. No one person has to do everything. The way the human race has advanced so far is by specialization, as by letting artists 'art' and writers write. In any case, here is the description of PPP as it relates to the art of Jc Lenochan.
Public Protest Post, 2015, is an interactive installation created by Jc Lenochan that invites audiences to speak their mind about social issues in America like race, class, and more. [So far, so good: intelligible expository prose. But try to wade thru the following paragraf.]
"The work is a critique of epistemology through the process of deconstructing objects and de-circulating institutional relics, reconfiguring these commodities the way I think they should be perceived as an initiative to arts [sic] transformative function. Through investigative research, drawing, riffs on traditional sculpture and performance[-]based installations, my interests and concerns pursue ideas of re-appropriation and mis-representation of images, subverting text or forms that already exist, with personal/historical narratives embodying Socratic methods of questioning and humor as a post-colonial pedagogical dialogue on manipulating perspective of the dominant ideology, confronting cultural bias, perceptions of otherness and racial fabrications. Everything we see has the potential to become inexplicably something else for social justice, wherein concepts dictate materials and process. 'What deliberate role has institutional academics played in shaping our current cultural climate regarding race and what are the repercussions of our sociological and psychological condition regarding racial tension and cultural pedagogy?’" - Jc Lenochan, 2015
Huh? I have repeatedly been tested and found to have "very superior" intelligence, even "genius" IQ. But I can't make heads nor tails of that, because I am not privy to Lenochan's internal mental processes, so do not know what, exactly, s/he means by a host of the terms s/he uses. Nor can anyone else outside his or her head. Give us a break, and write something that people outside your head can comprehend.
I present below my last quote from The Gateway Project's invitation to tonite's PPP event.
Join [us] this Thursday, May 28th from 6 - 9 PM for the final Public Protest Post (PPP) Battles. Special guests (TBA) will be in attendance for the final battle/closing party for the Color Polemics exhibition.
Thanks for the invite, but I won't attend. I've already seen the 2D art, from the opening on April 30th, and I have no patience for performance art or videos. I learned that thru a one-time experience in an evening at Index Art Center's annual "Filmideo" (film / video) event. I felt trapped when things I did not care for, or even found objectionable (obscene) came onscreen, and I didn't want to see it. With an ordinary art show, you can move quickly from piece to piece. If you don't like one, you just move immediately to the next, all around the gallery. But with film or video, you are stuck watching something you may find you HATE, by which time it's too late. You can't "unsee", and the human mind has a very powerful visual memory, which has always been indispensable to the safety of the creature, in that you need to recall when something similar, earlier in life, proved dangerous, lest you fall victim to it this time even if you evaded destruction the last time. With performance art, film and video, you have to give over your time to something in which you may have no interest, or even dislike. I don't have that kind of patience, nor time. I am 70 years old, and life is (literally, at my age) too short to waste any of it on things I dislike.
So, Gateway Project, by all means keep me advised as to future shows of 2D and 3D art. But leave that 4th D, time, out of it, and let me skip over things I'm not interested in. Deal?