Geoffrey and I were on our way to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo when we passed a building with a glass store-front from whose interior a Pink Neon Sign called out to me. The building turned out to be the home of the Chicago History Museum (formerly known as the Chicago Historical Society), and it looked like a pretty cool place. We did not have time for an in-depth visit (next time!), but we did snap a few photos in the lobby, which is alive with a streetscape of illuminated, vintage Chicago signage such as the eight-feet tall Gas for Less sign you see above, as well as a fully refurbished Lowrider Car, which you may see in a future post! Chicago!
Unless I am in some kind of crazy hurry, getting temporarily lost or misdirected in NYC is always a blessing, because it allows me to stumble upon amazing finds like this fantastic Neon Tiger. I spotted this beauty, from the sidewalk, inside a casual menswear boutique called Blue In Green, which is located on Greene Street, one block above Canal, in SoHo. Grrr.
I admit that I had not visited the current, midtown location of Anton Kern Gallery since they moved from West 20th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District, which was a few years ago at this point. Because Midtown. But then I heard that one of my very favorite living artists, David Shrigley, had an upcoming exhibit at gallery, so I had to attend. Because David Shrigley is The Shit.
Fluff War, as it is called, is Shrigley’s seventh solo exhibition at Anton Kern, and it is comprised of the titular large-scale kinetic sculpture, plus two neon sculptures, and 100 new drawings. If you follow me on the Instagram (@gailpink61) — which you should — then you have seen an assortment of Shrigley’s hilarious drawings which I have been posting over the past couple of weeks under the hashtag #dailyshrigley. Since they are already on The ‘Gram, as the kids says, I will not be posting any of the drawings here. This post is just about the Fluff War itself.
The structure of Fluff War is a ten foot by ten foot square enclosure akin to a miniature soccer stadium or a giant air hockey table. Trapped inside are clusters of black wooly fluff being blown about a smooth white floor by gusts of wind coming in through surrounding vents. Below is a video I filmed of the Fluff at War!
Mesmerizing and fun! War is a cheeky misnomer for what the fluff is engaged in. Incapable of exerting its own will, the fluff is at the whim of hidden fans, randomly sequenced by a computer program, blowing at varying intervals and strengths. It remains unclear which fluff is winning or losing, what the objective is, or if there is one at all. Regardless, one can easily become an enraptured observer of this nonsensical activity.
Fluff War Observed From the Gallery’s Second Floor!
David Shrigley’s Fluff War Runs Through June 15th, 2019 at Anton Kern Gallery, Located at 16 East 55th Street, in NYC.
Andrea Bowers is a Los Angeles-based artist working in video, drawing, and installation that combines art and activism in order to draw attention to the struggle for social justice. For the High Line, Bowers presents a continuation of her ongoing work supporting the DREAMers, individuals who came to the United States at an early age without documentation, who have assimilated to U.S. culture, and who have been educated in the U.S. School system.
Here’s what the sign looks like at night.
The message is written in Spanish on one side and in English on the other.
Bowers invited the immigration activist group Movimiento Cosecha to write a slogan in support of DREAMers, realized as a neon sign reading “Somos 11 Millones / We Are 11 Million,” which is the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Part of the Agora Project, Installed on The High Line (Under the Standard Hotel) Through March of 2019.
Bruce Nauman’s neon sculpture, Human Nature / Life Death (1983) is a circle of words corresponding to the defining contradictions of human existence — life and death, love and hate, pleasure and pain — are trisected by the words “Animal,” “Human” and “Nature.”
In the aggregate, the words form a colorful, illuminated peace symbol. Human Nature / Life Death is anything but serene or amicable, however, and not only because of its content. As the words flash and darken erratically, Nauman’s neon devolves into a jumble of disjointed signs that break the continuity of the composition and jerk the eye across the wall.
Photographed in The Met Breuer in Manhattan.