Gert & Uwe Tobias: der osten im norden des westens
Team Gallery, May 8 – June 14, 2008
A few months after their much-discussed exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, Gert and Uwe Tobias now make their New York commercial gallery solo debut. As odd as it might seem that these collaborating twins found their entry into the local art scene via one of its most prominent institutions, it fits with the overall mystique of their work.
Seemingly coming out of nowhere while referencing everything along the way, the Tobiases’ work is a unique mélange of Russian constructivism, symbolism, Bauhaus, folklore, figuration and romanticism, which is cooked together with a solid dose of humor and an aesthetic that is much informed by contemporary graphic design. The Tobiases comment on this visual anarchy in the title of their show, which summons the romance of a weathervane: “the east in the north of the west.” It is a locating description, at once all-inclusive and distinct, functioning as a general homage to the freedom found in art and the artists’ revolt against stigmatization. It can be further understood as the artists’ nod to their own travels, leading them from Eastern Europe, where they were born in Kronstadt, Romania, in 1973, to Cologne, Germany, where they currently reside, and into the future, to wherever their globe-spanning career might take them.
Considering the amount of processed information and experience in the Tobiases’ oeuvre, it must be a great advantage to work as a close-knit duo, with each other’s constant constructive and editorial input, fact-checking and reminiscing. It is a microscopic view of humanity’s collective consciousness, so to speak, which, in the Tobiases’ case, weaves various loose strings into works whose content is as eclectic as their form. While the Tobiases also have worked extensively with sculpture and installation, this exhibition features large woodcuts and wall paintings and smaller drawings, some of which include collage and some that were made with a typewriter. There is a sense of whimsy in this installation, where a playful character can suddenly emerge from fields of abstraction like an octopus surfacing from the depths of the ocean.
However dense the information, the Tobiases prefer installations that stress structural clarity. Works are neatly framed, hung at unusual heights, like jumpy notations on a piece of sheet music, and entire walls are often compartmentalized with the help of solid colors. In this exhibition, as was the case at MoMA, there is an intriguing rhythm to the madness. At the end of the day, the Tobiases will make sure that nothing will be predictable or, worse, look arbitrary.
New York Food ExhibitionsBy Mary Ann Caws
OCT 2022 | ArtSeen
As I write, there is at the Museum of the City of New York, a gigantic and vividly colorful exhibition entitled Food in New York: Bigger Than the Plate, which opened on September 16 to great acclaim in the newspaper and radio.
“A Totally Integrated Club Scene”: New York, New Music: 1980–1986 at the Museum of the City of New YorkBy Matthew Pessar Joseph
OCT 2021 | Music
Now, 1980s music has become anything but underground. Perhaps spurred by the cost of once artistically vibrant downtown neighborhoods like the East Village and SoHo, nostalgia for the decade has reached new heights.
New York: 1962–1964By Suzaan Boettger
SEPT 2022 | ArtSeen
A historical exhibition aims to show us past life, but sometimes the retrospective becomes reflective, a two-way mirror seeing through to the present. So it is with New York 19621964 at The Jewish Museum, certainly at the moment our fair citys most enveloping visual and aural museum experience.
Frank Bowling: London/New YorkBy David Rhodes
MAY 2021 | ArtSeen
For Frank Bowlings inaugural exhibition with the gallery, paintings from a six-decade career that saw Bowling work between London and New York are presented at both the London and New York locations simultaneously. Works on view span over 50 years of the artists career, from 1967 to the present day.