Sunday, October 08, 2006

hocking & friends @ hilberry

When it comes to local artists showing at hilberry, everyone pays a little more attention to the art/artist on display. This is one of those shows that has had a buzz before it even opened. I had heard rumors begin late in the summer that hocking was on to something different. I initially assumed it was something similar to what he was doing in the last few group shows - sharpie marker drawings on found object panels. Most people associate detroit junk and altered found objects with hocking so it was a surprise to see the gallery filled with fiberglass painted animals. One of the hot topics of debate at the opening was not necessarily the idea of the work, but the means the work came together. Through hocking's connection he managed to acquire 40 + city animals - the kind that litter a city's downtown streets. Detroit had trashcans...the zoo had bears...every city has their own animal to call their own. The animals were then sourced out to other detroit artists to paint. Talking with a few of the artists, I found out that hocking didn't dictate what each artist painted but only the placement of the animals and the story they tell in the gallery. Now, some people, once they found out that hocking did not make or paint all of them were angered at the idea and one artist even told me "they had been fooled" but most people didn't object to the idea. Now, I can already see the debate starting if having other artists paint the animals takes away or adds to the idea but the critique shouldn't be based on this topic alone. The work is about taking a "piece of art" that sits in a city for everyone to gawk at, deface or bid on and put it within a gallery environment for a different audience to view. Hocking's work is still about taking "junk" and repackaging it to view in a different context. He no longer is taking rusty parts from warehouses but instead using leftover public art vessels as his palette. Detroit found object art has its limits so I enjoy seeing exploration from an artist who has been pegged mr. detroit found object. friends include: dylan spasky, john corbin, faina lerman, nick sousanis, clint snider, dan dimaggio, melanie manos, jim storm, gina reichert, brad taormina, zeb smith, jeff karoiski, sara blakeman, matthew blake, denise fanning, sioux trujillo, ron ribant, karlbuzewski, ben kiehl, mitch cope, jeff hocking, lakela brown. The list was double typed in an up-side-down mirror image so it was difficult to make out some of the names. There were also no prices included which seemed strange. I also wanted to find out what local artists really thought of the pieces but seeing that a majority of local artists painted the animals, it was hard to separate their thoughts with the curator.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was thoroughly suprised and completely thrilled by the entire exhibition and its premise. Scott and the artists he collaborated with deserve a standing ovation. Susanne has proven again that hers is the gallery to watch.

11:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

who cares how many artists it took to paint the animals? did they work as a show? as art?

1:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see what the difference is between this gallery show and when a city asks artists to paint/work the animals to be displayed on the streets. Royal Oak with its polar bears (Tom Thewes' was radical), or Rochester its sheep (the Madonna one had a terrific rocket brassiere), Detroit with its cars (not a mammal I guess), or Chicago with its cows.

So I don't understand why anyone would feel conflicted about this project and all the artists involved. It's been done on city levels all over the country and no one got their nose out of joint that it was a collective effort.

2:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this show, work for work, should have been the second show at MOCAD.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seattle has Elk.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann I was at the show, I think you left out a major element in your reporting.
Yes the animals were obtained from some of the very places that furnish them to those
spectacles that happen in various cities. The difference here was that the artist put them the crisis
that they are in in the real world, a shark that has been de-finned, testing done to chimpanzees, the
poaching of gorillas tigers giraffes, and so on. Didn't you notice the traps on the little critters?
It was after that that he said he enlisted various artists to paint them. I for one can't stand those
Royal Oak-ish shows, and thought this was an great critique on that phenomenon.

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conceptually it was fairly easy. Visually it was a lot of fun.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that pig looks fukin' gay as hell

4:19 PM  
Blogger craigpaulnowak said...

Anon is right (not necessarily the one that called the pig gay, but the other one, that said something about the animals in crisis). I stopped by Scott's studio four days before the show in order to pick up LaKela's piece. These animals were all over the place, a lot of which Scott intended on painting himself (from his own mouth, he planned on painting a lot of the mounted heads). As well, The alterations on these animals took time. They weren't just handed out and displayed like the animals in the cities. I found it to be very fitting that other artists painted them. It helped to maintain the parallel between the idea and the commentary on the idea, and quite well if you ask me. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out when I saw the work in the studio, but man do I wish I could have made it to this show.

This is a great idea! And it is very well executed. The show has elements that when combined tell you something about ourselves as human beings. I love commentary on society. It's like a controlled expirement that has one major variable. The animals are still on display for us to pass by and gawk at; they were still painted individually by a handfull of individual artists, but the main difference, the traps and mountings and decapitations, and testings on these animals is what I think gives this show a voice.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pink elephants chained to walls, animals with severed limbs... chained to, didn't we just see that at the OUG Sculpture??? show? Plagarism rocks!!

11:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The sculpture at Oakland University was way better. Really beautiful.

And the concept was better because the animals were overgrown stuffed mutilated toys. You had more empathy/sypmathy/engagement with the work. And the artist actually made the work, didn't get it from a novelty company.

All I got from Hocking was disconnect. He didn't make the work and he didn't paint it. Kostabi's been doing that sort of tired crap for years.

1:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymouse, you are completely wrong to use the term plagiarism. Evidently Hocking had to utilize a lot of lead time in order to orchestrate his exhibition, which roughly overlaps with the Sculpture??? show at OUG.

If you dont care for the premise, or thinks one did it better that the other, then say so.

Plagiarism is most certainly not an issue here.

Would you say that Braque plagiarized Picasso? I dont think so

6:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is it a requirement an artwork in the 21st centurey that the artist have total hands-on in the creation of it?

what about artists who use master printers? what about sculptors who use fabricators or foundry workers?

6:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The argument about artists hand is such a very old one. Obviously today we admire the brain more than the hand so you are running into a brick wall there.

I think the concept is a good one here. Though I have to admit I am tired of seeing art that is a reaction. Always reacting to what is out there and often vulnerable. It is an opportunity for a quick and whitty bounce.

A lot easiar and contemporary, in my opinion, than creating something new that engages and enlightens atleast the art world that is coming to this gallery ( not the general public in Hillberry ).

Perhaps Scott should have installed this show in one of the restaurants he eats at?

9:17 AM  
Blogger art blogs are fun said...

2nd anon,
I didn't overlook the element of animals in crisis...I guess I am just a little immune to it. I guess it wasn't as shocking to me seeing where my work is and having been to the sculpture? show.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was totally disappointed. I'd seen the cover of Metro Times and thought Scott was molding, casting and working on his own sort of hybrid freaky animals (shows him sanding the seams on some "animal" wearing a strange headpiece).

The idea of authorship is a dead one, since Duchamp never made his original ready-mades but got them from a hardware; and even now with Koons and Hirst (who has 55 assistants who help create his work). The invite said "Scott Hocking" not Scott with Davin, Graem, Melanie etc. So these good artists themselves have become little more than assistants. To the detriment of all. So what does that prove?!

And the concept of appropriating street art animals isn't too exciting, since the source is a dumb idea to begin with. Next he'll be attacking macrame. C'mon.

The only ones who come out ahead on this is PETA. ANd a few attending vegans.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Adrian Hatfield said...

The idea that an artist must physically create a piece is no longer a prerequisite for art, but this type of authorship is far from dead or irrelevant. An original, thought provoking idea, like the one Duchamp had 93 years ago, can be the source of great, influential art and a wonderful experience for the viewer. Similarly, a beautifully painted image can create a wonderful aesthetic experience, produce admiration for the skill and devotion to one's craft, and can simultaneously be the vehicle for a thought provoking idea.

People are too quick to throw out the baby with the bath water. I feel we live in the absolute best time to be an artist simply because all doors are open. New concepts or work may change how old ideas or mediums operate, but I have yet to see one "killed" or rendered obsolete.

12:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My point was that the notion of authorship is moot. Dead. Not something to argue about, or interfere with the pleasure of the art. So get over it.

And it is also a knowledge that doesn't intrinsically heighten the pleasure of a piece. It doesn't make the piece smarter either. Or better. Or the artist more clever.

Sometime's it happens because the artist is lazy. Or gets funded to be lazy. ANd other artists just want to be shown at a certain gallery under any guise or authorship.

Anyway it's moot here, because there was nothing fresh or notable created with all the collective effort.

Another opening, another show.

And in today's art world, for every door that gets opened another is shut tight.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"there was nothing fresh or notable created with all the collective effort..."

:Seems like some folks will never learn to look with their eyes. I would consider it an issue worth examining when recollection and possibly expectation are the lenses through which one sees. Certainly where art is concerned, it is nothing if not wise to look where it is you've just leapt!

Why not talk about the work - what IS there, in Susanne's gallery? Why must we be conflicted with authorship, with nooiissee...

Here is where conceptualizationalism is such a problem.
Regardless of show titles, mailed announcements, opening receptions and all that other fluff that galleries concoct,"just b'cause"... we have a big selection of work from some of our neighborhoods' more interesting maker-guys. Yes, there were a handful of pieces that I thought would have enjoyed omission. Even so, the remaineder is an texas sized helping of, well, the stuff of gorgeousness. Go Look and See.

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ann, You are immune to it because you are working with similar Icons? I think the fact that, Your work, Scott's and the work at Sculpture? is striving to give voice to something so, seemingly, like minded is astonishing. Obviously no one is imitating the other these all were being produced at the same time. the three approaches make all of them that much more interesting, collective unconscious baby.
-tho I am not sure any of them are trying to shock? are they?

12:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If aaron had a point it was completely buried under a hefty helping of bitter stew.

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think there is sometimes a lack of acceptance of pluralism exhibited in this blog. The argument often appears like this: a plumber should not exist because he is not an accountant...and god forbid it takes three plumbers to fix your pipes.

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of us here have divined a message about animals-in-the-wild meltdown, but, in outrage, I contend that such a message is: a) very easily and very often contained in words; b) if you absolutely must convey it with art, there's any number of ways you could have done so without wasting all this non-biodegradable plastic and resin; and c) it's exactly this hateful arrogance, that some fairly banal and unoriginal message might warrant this profligacy with the natural world, that got us into an environmental meltdown in the first place.

2:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, I don't think the show was created with animal rights in mind. It appears too humoruos for that. I don't know if Scott ever said it was about that. If he did he was lying (to himself). But I don't think he did. It was more about being a good joke. And it was a good joke. No deep criticism. No major statement on cities and art and animals and all that shit. Funny. It was just supposed to be funny. Duh.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of funny contempt art.

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The art world has become a transnational bureaucracy. Everybody has a job description and a résumé. We are face to face with a generation of well-educated and expensively trained young artists whose extended tenure in art schools appended to the art world has totally divorced them from any social reality beyond it. And when they fake a foray into reality it's a silly parody of art that is already silly.

They just love the winning side - the side with the monied museum, the hot gallery and the in-crowd cast. They seek out spectacles whose value is confirmed by the normative blessing of institutions and corporations. In these venues, they derive sanctioned pleasure or virtue from an accredited source, and this makes them feel secure, more a part of things. Only for the art moment, which is shorter than a New York minute in the scheme of it all.

2:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I will admit to what you have said. yes. But I will remain anonymous.

Ps. That show looks terrible.

And the only rule of humor was not observed; "get in and get out." The show visually manifests the re-telling of a bad joke at a good party.

10:05 AM  

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