‘AN­THOL­OGY: SOME­WHERE NOT HERE’

The Commercial Appeal - Go Memphis - - ARTS -

Some­times in this world we are con­fronted by sit­u­a­tions that suf­fer from the tri­umph of pack­ag­ing over prod­uct. My ex­am­ple to­day is the ex­hi­bi­tion “An­thol­ogy: Some­where Not Here,” a group show of pho­to­graphs and videos on dis­play through Satur­day at Crosstown Arts. Cu­rated by Tommy Kha, a pho­tog­ra­pher based in Mem­phis and New York, the ex­hi­bi­tion is loosely cen­tered on vague themes of “the acts of their jour­neys — seek­ing, feel­ing, and find­ing through pas­sages of time and space,” a credo that could ap­ply equally to self-help books and the re­grets of mid­dle age.

Nine­teen artists are in­volved, and their pho­to­graphic im­ages are pre­sented in small for­mat to sug­gest post­cards and drug­store-de­vel­oped snapshots, so the ex­hi­bi­tion car­ries the aura of ready-made nos­tal­gia for a world that be­gan to fade two sec­onds ago.

The im­ages are not mat­ted, framed and hung on the walls with ad­e­quate light­ing but are af­fixed to lit­tle rec­tan­gles of di­bond — a light­weight con­struc­tion ma­te­rial con­sist­ing of an in­ert core be­tween thin sheets of alu­minum — and set on nar­row ledges about chest height on the wall, de­pend­ing, nat­u­rally, on how tall you are.

This for­mat means vis­i­tors can pick up the pieces and look at them closely, which they will have to do, be­cause, since videos are also dis­played, light­ing is kept low.

A qual­ity of anonymity per­vades the ex­hi­bi­tion be­cause no in­for­ma­tion about the artists or ti­tles can be found in prox­im­ity to the pieces. You have to pick up a sheet by the front door in or­der to follow along with artist and ti­tle (if the sheets are avail­able), though when I vis­ited Through Satur­day at Crosstown Arts, 422 N. Cleve­land. Visit crosstow­narts.com. Crosstown Arts, the im­ages did not quite con­form to the ar­range­ment on the list. If you wanted to be re­ally mis­chievous, you could to­tally re­ar­range the pho­tos stand­ing on the ledges and pedestals, and no one would be the wiser.

If what we ex­pect from an ex­hi­bi­tion of con­tem­po­rary pho­tog­ra­phy and video is a pro­ces­sion of iso­la­tion and dis­place­ment, anx­i­ety and dread, evanes­cence and en­nui, of shed­ding illumination on the un­re­al­ity of life’s in­con­se­quen­tial niches and cor­ners, then “Some­where Manal Abu-sha­heen, “View From Ho­tel Win­dow,” 2016. From “An­thol­ogy: Some­where Not Here” at Crosstown Arts. Not Here” is a prize-win­ner. If, on the other hand, we ex­pect any hint of im­pulses new, cre­ative, spon­ta­neous, witty, won­drous and in­sight­ful, then this ex­hi­bi­tion fails at all points. The prob­lem lies in its ut­ter con­form­ity to a now-uni­ver­sal style; you could find sim­i­lar im­ages in sim­i­lar ex­hi­bi­tions all over the world. Some­one needs to kick­start new life into all those art schools.

A sim­i­lar com­plaint arises from the videos on view. With one ex­cep­tion, they are too long, poorly edited, di­dac­tic and ill-con­ceived. That ex­cep­tion is five short — I mean 2½ to 3½ min­utes — videos by PIMO, a col­lab­o­ra­tion of Pixy Liao and Moro Ma­gario. What a bless­edly light, blithe and hu­mor­ous touch they have in de­pict­ing hu­man re­la­tion­ships and foibles and our feel­ings about our­selves and our bod­ies in im­ages and mu­sic, all while re­tain­ing a sense of merry in­no­cence.

At some point, months

Jo­hanna Case Hofmeis­ter, “After the As­sas­si­na­tion,” 2016. or years ago, the con­cep­tion for this ex­hi­bi­tion must have seemed like a good idea — “We’ll make the pho­tos re­ally small, like on post­cards!” — but the re­sult doesn’t work at any level. Want­ing works on pa­per (or di­bond) to be mounted in tra­di­tional for­mat and lit so they can ac­tu­ally be seen may be bour­geois, but, you know, I’m just a mid­dle-class kind of guy. An­nes­dale Park Gallery, 1290 Pe­abody: “Charted: Nat­u­ral Stud­ies by Michael Fran­cis Rea­gan,” through Oct. 12. Open­ing re­cep­tion 6-8 p.m. Fri­day. Water­color maps from around the world (both of to­day and yes­ter­day), along with the artist’s “Bird Jour­nals.” 901-208-6451. thean­nes­dalepark­gallery. com Café Gallery at Play­house on the Square, 66 S. Cooper: Jimmy Crosth­wait: “Mazes, Mar­i­onettes, Zen Chimes, and More,” art­work. Fri­day through Oct. 23. David Lusk GalleryMem­phis, 97 Till­man: Ham­lett Dob­bins: “I Will Have to Tell You Ev­ery­thing” and Peter Flem­ing: “Pre­served,” through Oct. 8. Art Talk at 11 a.m. Satur­day. Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tues­day through Fri­day, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Satur­day. 901-767-3800. david­luskgallery.com MCA Gallery at Play­house on the Square, 66 S. Cooper: Wes­ley H. Or­tiz: “El Es­pa­cio en Medio” (“the space be­tween”), Fri­day through Oct. 23. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon­day through Satur­day and 1-5 p.m. Sun­day, and on show nights. mca.edu The Sal­va­tion Army Kroc Cen­ter (Ju­nior League of Mem­phis Art Hall), 800 East Park­way S.: Ann Fitzger­ald and Marty Parker artist re­cep­tion, 1:30 p.m. Sun­day. Thirty per­cent of all pur­chases ben­e­fit The Sal­va­tion Army’s pro­grams. 901-729-8007. krocmem­phis. org. South­side Gallery, 150 Court­house Square, Ox­ford, Miss.: Jer­rod Par­tridge: “Which Wert and Art” (“What Was and Is”) and Lu­cius Farmer: “Fire Wa­ter Earth,” two con­cur­rent solo ex­hi­bi­tions, through Oct. 1. 662-234-9090. south­sideart­gallery.com. Tops Gallery, 400 S. Front: Dan Torop: “Law of Dis­si­pa­tion,” through Oct. 16. Open­ing 6-8 p.m. Fri­day. Pho­to­graphs. 901-340-0134. tops­gallery.com.

Dru Don­a­van, “Un­ti­tled,” 2014.

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