Marianne Vitale at Zach Feuer Gallery
Feb 9th 2012, by Karen Rosenberg, The New York Times
The performance-driven sculptures in Marianne Vitaleâ€™s first solo at Feuer, rustic-looking wooden constructions that have been shot at or set on fire, suggest a strong presence in search of the right vehicle. (You may remember the blunt exhortations of Ms. Vitaleâ€™s video manifesto, â€śPatron,â€ť from the 2010 Whitney Biennial.)
This showâ€™s centerpiece, â€śBurned Bridge,â€ť turns a dead metaphor and a pile of reclaimed lumber into a haunted, commanding sculpture. Its wooden trusses, built and then torched by Ms. Vitale, emit an acrid smell that permeates the gallery. On a wall piece behind the bridge side-by-side lengths of the same material bear hammer bruises and a scattering of bent nails. And in the back room a slope-roofed shack or outhouse riddled with bullets becomes an empty container for all sorts of paranoiac imaginings.
Emerging from an invented world, looming figures populate the Chinatown studio of 2010 Whitney Biennial artist Marianne Vitale. Sometimes sympathetic, often uneasy, Vitaleâ€™s
recent sculptures pull the tension between figure and abstraction, mid-process of either
melting or forming, with skin dripping from their frames. These extracts stretch, move, coil, hide, and invite to mark an encounter of sinister fragility. The studio of Marianne Vitale has always been an occasion of familiar curiosity since I can remember first visiting it for her
famed dinner parties. The sculptures seem to grow out of the diorama of that studio â€” a
visited world, a suspension from reality. Vitaleâ€™s drawings have always hung on the walls of
her studio, and these new sculptures developed from that changing cast of hung sketches. Always attracted to Vitaleâ€™s drawings, I walked into Sculpture Center this fall and was
overtaken by one of these volcanic creatures, now off the page and in nineteen-foot bronze form. Compared to the smaller scale creatures shown during June at Ibid Projects in London, this large creature, almost monster, seemed to come from a Roald Dahl childrenâ€™s novel and some other indistinct realm. However, that is part of the mystery and fascination in Marianneâ€™s work. There is a constant unexpected moment in everything she does â€” from building a hut
in White Columns and inside it screening a film that somehow successfully addresses the movements of a squirrel and Plutarch in the same thought â€” to her gestures as a performer.
In the following conversation, Marianne Vitale and I dance around these issues and reference many others during a visit to her studio and a dinner at Lucien.
Marianne Vitale Has Benn Burning Bridges (Also: Riddling Sculptures With Bullet Holes)
January 17th 2012, by Michael H Miller, Gallerist NY
A few weeks ago, the artist Marianne Vitale was standing in the woods in upstate New York, firing a shotgun at a large wooden outhouse she had built in her studio in Queens. After she had finished building the sculpture, she felt that it was missing something. One night over a few glasses of whiskey with her two studio assistants, it became clear what the sculpture needed: bullet holes. They hauled the outhouse to a friendâ€™s farm in Pawling, N.Y., propped it up in the middle of the woods and, in Ms. Vitaleâ€™s words, â€śjust started shooting the fuck out of it.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s littered with bullet holes,â€ť she said, inspecting the aftermath in her studio. â€śYou can still see some bullets.â€ť She indicated a wad of silver metal, misshapen and lopsided, sticking out of the wood.
Four Large Sculptures take over three floors of Ibid Projects
2012, Art Daily
LONDON.- For her second solo exhibition at IBID PROJECTS, New York artist Marianne Vitale presents 4 large-scale sculptures taking over 3 floors of the gallery. Too Much Satan For One Hand illustrates a new body of work taking its starting point from the idea of the American Frontier.
Marianne Vitaleâ€™s multi-disciplinary practice combines sculpture, film and video, theatre and drawing. Cultivating a considered aesthetic of absurdity, her work often functions as parody of cultural production, broaching a wide array of subjects in an attempt to escape classification.
Wood beams, posts and boards taken from the floors, walls and ceilings of old factories and warehouses throughout New Yorkâ€“ is sourced from scrap yards and reconfigured into sculptural replicas of objects and structures reminiscent of its historical origins. With the help of historical imagery, outhouses, false fronts, barns, jail cells and other architectural elements of Americaâ€™s Old West are reconstructed with traditional, often long abandoned techniques. The reclaimed lumber, once primary building material and a lynchpin in the countryâ€™s industrialization, is left untreated and shows the remains of a hundred-plus years of wear and tear. With its weathering, dirt, markings, footprints and rusty nails, it serves as signifier of authenticity to the countryâ€™s mythologized past and helps to turn these objects into nostalgic and lonely monuments to that long-gone and overly glorified pre-modern era in itsâ€™ annals.
Biennialist Marianne Vitale Leads a Fishy Mutiny on the LES
March 2010, by Benjamin Sutton, The L Magazine
If you've been to this year's quite good Whitney Biennial, you've definitely heard Marianne Vitale's voice. In fact, you've probably heard more than enough of her and tried your best to tune out her rant about art patronage in a video (pictured) on the second floor. Provocative, nagging, funny and annoying, it's also one of the few works that still stands out weeks later. Vitale was much less in-your-face in a performance last night that she organized for the international curatorial network Kunstverein's New York chapter at White Slab Palace on the Lower East Side.
As the crowd at the door to the bar's back room grew steadily ahead of the 8pm showtime we were given regular updates on the delayed performance, The Clipper, for which Vitale invited writers, actors, musicians, artists and singers to join her on the deck of a makeshift ship-shaped stage. At 8:15pm, sailors/performance artists Michael Portnoy and Walter Gambini emerged from the doorway in half-Popeye, half-Jack the Sparrow costumes and shouted over the bar's low murmur: "The fucking show is starting!"
As the audience of 50 or so filed into the narrow, L-shaped back-room performance space, the Clipper was already on its voyage. At the front of the twenty-feet long raised stage, a model stood motionless throughout the 30-minute show, topless, covered in gold body paint and adorned with angelic wings, serving as the boat's figurehead designed by actor and performance artist Jessica Mitrani. Behind her, a latticework of ropes, pulleys and nets adorned with fresh fishâ€”the room smelled very fishy, which added to the show's impressively immersive effectâ€”gave some sense of the ship. On deck, Portnoy and Gambini were joined by the loudly apologetic captain (author and performance artist Todd Colby) and Dina Seiden, the ship's fed-up sex object. The performance's first section centered around her hilarious, harrowing story of having to compete for sexual supremacy with the sailors' preferred partners: a particular variety of skate whose insides are so vagina-like that in their minds the fish has become more desirable than an actual woman, forcing Seiden's character to make her genitals more skate-like.
Thereafter Seiden's tragic character crawled across the ship's deck, playing with a a huge, formless fish carcass and trying to use various objects to get off, while Portnoy sang a campy number, only to be interrupted by black-clad pirate (Sandeep Bhuller) trying to take over the chaotic vessel. After a speech about capitalist hegemony, terrorism, political action and those sorts of things, the irate sea bandit was dispatched with some collective neck-snapping, but not before setting off a small smoke bomb, filling the space with an acrid smell that drowned out the pungent fish odor.
Questions for artist Marianne Vitale
April 2011, by ARTINFO
Name: Marianne Vitale
City/Neighborhood: Live, Lower East Side; studio, Long Island City
What project are you working on now? Grave markers and burnt bridges
What's the last show that you saw? "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing," the show about the Apollo at the Museum of the City of New York
What's the last show that surprised
you? Luxembourg & Dayan's "Unpainted Paintings"
Why? I was surprised, pleasantly, that out of all the work in the show my favorite is Schnabel's shag.
What's your favorite place to see art? Anthology Film Archives
Do you make a living off your art? I make art off my living.
What's the most indispensable item in
your studio? My clipboard.
Where are you finding ideas for your
work these days? Pawing through high aisles of the musty Strand and watching Spaghetti Westerns.
Deborah Coulton Gallery: Chemical City
Oct 2007, by Dusti Rhodes, Houston Press
Marianne Vitale sneaked into a refinery to steal crude oil for her aptly named Crude Oil on Silk series for â€śChemical Cityâ€ť at Deborah Colton Gallery. Weâ€™re not sure if this puts Vitale on a terror watch list, but it does make for some of the best toxic art weâ€™ve seen this year. The airtight-encased oil-on-silk paintings feature her colorful, amorphous drawings which look like something out of Aeon Flux. This idea is expanded into a large, silk (and nontoxic) mural which resembles a skyline used as the backdrop for her installation, Crude Cityscape. Vitale exercised her thievery skills once again at a nearby dumpsite on Studemont to acquire the found objects used to front the mural. Pieces of an old picket fence, banana tree leaves and metal domes painted to look like Asian parasols give a corner of the gallery a little Oriental flavor.