NOW-ISM: Abstraction Today [Pizzuti Collection]

The Pizzuti Collection is the new kid on the block for the Columbus art scene. Having only been around about a year now, not many of the locals will know where it is or even that it exists. The Collection, however, is a rare artistic gem for the Columbus community. NOW-ISM: Abstraction Today is their current show, and there has never been anything like this in Columbus. CMA has never had such an extensive show, and the Wexner Center is too small to curate a show like NOW-ISM. If you have any interest at all in modern art and live between Indianapolis and Philadelphia, you need to see this show.

This show exhibits a kind of playfulness you won't see in larger museums. The artists selected were playful with color, playful with line, playful with context. The result? A stunning collection in a modern gallery. This is the kind of art I wish that Columbus had more of. Granted, these are mostly artists who are fairly known in art circles (I'm assuming).

I wanted to hit on a few of the most striking pieces. I visited the Pizzuti Collection a couple months ago, but I'm still thinking about these works.


Looping (2007-08), Mindy Shapero

Looping, Mindy Shapero

The lighting in the Collection's online gallery photo doesn't do this justice. When I visited, this sculptural piece was on the balcony. Sunlight illustrates the colors present much better than the promotional shots. The upper portion of the piece is a vivid collection of color, sculpted with the illusion of intense, fast movement. It could be something out of a Starburst commercial.

What makes this large work interesting is its juxtaposition with the piece beneath it. The angular, black 'rock' under the flowing colors stands in stark opposition to the free-flowing motion above. The two also never touch. They are completely separate objects.

For me, this piece is about creative opposition. One object without the other would be boring. Yet as interesting as the sculpture appears at first glance, you don't even notice the half of it on the ground. One would not be nearly as thought-provoking without the other. Shapero produced my favorite piece in this show.


An Advice from Grandfather (2010), Haluk Akakçe

An Advice from Grandfather, Haluk Akakçe

I can't quite place what I love about this piece. I think that the offbeat, flat colors are what do it. Could also be the angles of the 'landscape' in the background. Then again, it could be that these forms make me think of a Lovecraftian family's day at the beach.

Akakçe's work is definitely unique. There's no denying that. There's something slightly sexual about this piece for me, too. Dark and sexual. It doesn't make me think of abuse, but rather unfulfilled fantasies. But that might be the bit of Lovecraft seeping in again. Darn you, Cthulhu!

The blurb on the Pizzuti Collection page is amazing, especially since I hadn't initially written any notes about this piece. That's part of the magnificence of a collection with an art library, though. Piste's resources are second to none (locally, anyway).


Evaders (2009), Ori Gersht

Evaders (2009), Ori Gersht

I am a sucker for video art. And Ori Gersht's Evaders is intriguing, harrowing, and tedious in its intensity. I mean that last part in a positive way. The tone of the piece plateaus quickly and begins to communicate a driving anxiety surrounding an ultimate horror of death, made worse by the hopelessness of the single possible glimmer of goodness.

Evaders tells the emotional story of Walter Benjamin's flight out of Nazi-occupied France. And the escape is historically only an attempt. Mr. Benjamin killed himself rather than be repatriated to the Nazis. The film, while not Aristotelian, tells a complete emotional story. Which is all I ask of film art.