Continuing through October 20, 2012
I was a bit skeptical of Jason Kraus' concept — a display of the documentation of what’s left after the making of art, its residue, but none of the actual artwork made — before I saw it. It could be gimmicky, or it could be sublime. The show is comprised of ten objects: wooden crates, scuffed pieces of drywall from the artist’s studio, a framed envelope, the leftovers of a roll of drawing paper, a large drawing board, and a large photograph of the studio’s wall that shows where the drawings were made. The spaces on which the drawings were once pinned is clear, outlined by the black charcoal that came off the edges of the many pieces of paper that had been drawn on.
Aesthetically, the show ties together several art historical references: the subtlety and absence of content of the marked up white walls recall the white-on-white work of Robert Ryman as well as Robert Rauchenberg’s “Erased de Kooning Drawing.” Conceptually, it calls to mind a play on the surrealism of Magritte: this is not artwork; however, it is. The mostly white pieces, are actually quite beautiful. Of particular note is “An Empty Space,” the photograph. Elegantly simple, it is the quintessential piece of the show, serving as a window into the sacred space of the studio and the artist’s process. At the same time it provides the eye with an empty area onto which we can project our own ideas, such as tying in the previously mentioned art historical references.
Visually, the show could have stopped with these white works, but there is another game at play that adds to the flip-flop of what an exhibition should or can be: the crates are locked. Presumably, the drawings, which are never to be shown, are inside. The combinations to the locks are enclosed in the framed envelope, which is aptly titled “Fuck’em if they can’t take a joke.” The kicker: the crates and envelope can’t be purchased by the same person.