Do You Like Stuff? investigates the exploding mass of information
that inundates our current reality. From a paranoid desire
to make order out of chaos or a brave embrace of entropy,
this exhibition focuses on artists with inventive practices
of collecting, cataloging and presenting masses of stuff.
Inspired by the work of a generation of great indexers and
amassers such as Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Dieter Roth,
or the Bechers who were able to create concise archives
of the visible and experiential world the younger artists
presented in Do You Like Stuff? deal with an ever-growing
‘whole’ that has reached gloriously monstrous
heights with the current chaotic ordering of digital information.
Like Douglas Huebler, who set out to photographically document
the existence of everyone alive with his Variable Piece No.
70 of 1971, the artists in Do You Like Stuff? embrace the
impossible. Acknowledging the long-standing artistic project
of representing “an everything,” the work in this
exhibition re-thinks the impossibility of carving a concise,
poetic index from today’s overwhelming mass of information.
The work in Do You Like Stuff? speaks to a moment in our culture
where information is propagating without an efficient mechanism
for maintaining order. Artists face this pandemonium in different
ways: some dive straight into it, like Barb Choit or Graham
Parker who deal directly with the supposed waste of the internet,
treating spam and ebay jpegs with the care and attention of
archivists. Daniel Lefcourt tests the limits of meaning and
representation through the strategy of collecting and displaying
of a lexical series of images. Mark Orange contributes to
and updates a musical discussion between Erik Satie and John
Cage about the density of time and repetition with his Digital
Vexations. Mike Bouchet creates a compendium of texts from
hundreds of Hollywood screenplays that endlessly scroll on
screen: a veritable “film festival for readers”.
David Adamo and Beth Howe recognize the value of delving into
every nook and cranny of our too-dense reality: Adamo acts
as an arcane stalker-investigator, and Howe turns the situationist
model of the dérive inside out as she reports on her
intellectual starts and stops through the library. Frank Olive,
both on his own and with collaborator Rudy Shepherd, collects,
catalogues and presents everyday ideas and objects, attempting
to provide his viewers with an experience of order and comfort,
opposing the tendency towards disorder.
Like Stuff?, part of the S’s New York emerging artists
projects, is made possible with public funds from the New
York State Council on the Arts, a State agency.
image above courtesy of Daniel Lefcourt