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Best of 2008: Christopher Bedford, Curator of Exhibitions

Fri, Dec 19, 2008
Wexner Center Curator of Exhibitions Christopher Bedford checks in with his top three performances and exhibitions from the past year, all with a distinct West Coast flavor:

image: shweool flickr

Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler: REN, Los Angeles, CA, May 18, 2008
Matthew Barney and Jonathan Belper's REN was performed on May 18, 2008, in a defunct RV dealership on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Though variously disparaged and dismissed since as “corny” and “provincial,” REN reaffirmed Barney's credentials as a staunch avant-gardist, committed to unchartered materials and themes, and with ambition to spare. In sweltering heat, the audience was treated to over two hours of messy, meandering, untamed performance art featuring, amongst other things, a marching band, the live destruction of a used porta-potty and gleaming, gold Pontiac Firebird.

Catherine Opie at Regen Projects II, Los Angeles, April 10 – May 17, 2008
Cathy Opie's latest series of photographs examine the culture of high school football across the United States. Made up landscapes and portraits, her photographs introduce muscular, sweaty, rural bodies into the art world with jarring power.

Robert Irwin: Primaries and Secondaries, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, 10/21/07 – 2/23/08
Irwin's survey at MCASD featured many recent works, most notably Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow & Blue, an installation comprised of six lustrous, high-key panels, three laid on the floor and three suspended from the gallery roof. Despite their considerable size and heft, these panels seemed to evaporate into the cavernous gallery, reflecting and enlivening that environment, while assimilating from the architectural details unexpected imagistic content. Absorbing and absorbent, the installation narrows and focuses one's perception, while welcoming in the surrounding world. Irwin's ability to conceive objects radically distinct from, yet seamlessly integrated into their environments is unrivalled, and Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow & Blue is the apogee of this ambition.
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