Forthcoming Exhibitions - Museum of New Art (MONA)

IT CAN HAPPEN HERE: NEW DETROIT ART, from January 27 through February 23.

With the exhibition IT CAN HAPPEN HERE: New Detroit Art, the Museum of New Art hopes to question what and where art can occur. Whether what is allowed globally can occur locally. A questioning of art itself, as it becomes more and more about centralized markets, about placement, about the external, and becomes less about history, the sense of place and creation, of the internal that once incited its creation.

Today's art has become a movement away from the personal toward the collective artist, moving from a single identity and a singular purpose toward a multiplicity that advances only greater exposure and careerism.

Twenty years ago, art students graduated to rebel against everything they were once taught. Today, students are taught the art of rebellion as a matter of course. The avant-garde has been institutionalized.

This small band of Detroit artists proves that exciting new art can happen anywhere. And, in today’s cultural spin, that is as avant-garde as it gets.

- Jane Speaks, from Art Can't Happen Here


BOINK! ALEX KATZ IS TOTALLY GAY from January 27 to February 23

In 1991, Swiss artist Riso Mattner co-authored the Museum of New Art as a "fiction of authenticity" in order to redefine the borders of art and to critique dominant modes of presentation. Now, his exhibition BOINK! at the Museum of New Art is a quick and dirty tour of many of these themes.

BOINK! is first and most obviously an esthetic battleground over the image of art, but more pointedly of society itself -- what is permissible to say or to show, and who is allowed to say and show it. The artist/iconoclast abuses and thereby accentuates the basic elements of the chosen art object and its artist to make visible and decode their underlying message.

While the semiotic reading of artworks is the predominant mode of interpretation for Mattner's current œuvre, the special significance of these vandalized art-advertisements seems to lie at least as much in the borrowed iconography of the original material. Mattner believes that too much time is spent picking over the idea of art and placing it within a scheme of art "regimes."

This complex archaeology can be simplified substantially if one realizes that what Mattner is doing is combining, in a clever way, art history with popular history. In his day-to-day world art ceases to be a simulacrum, but at the same time it ceases to be displaced from the everyday. Contemporary art especially can be free of the restrictions of hierarchy and history, because it doesn’t have to be shackled to any particular noble content that distinguishes it from everyday life. And that it can never be detached from the current politics of time and place.

Failing to deal with presumed notions of art skeptically can only make the art world more insular, and more pompous.

BRINGING BACK SEXY: January 27 through February 23.
Most of the paintings and photographs in this exhibition aren't so much about sex or sex acts as about a display of craft, but of course such graphic display is in itself a sex act. The sex act in which art is grounded to eroticism, and, thereby, cleverly avoids the label of pornography.
But, more than a few of these works look like something Larry Flynt would have commissioned for the walls of the Sistine Chapel. So, pornography it often is, and John Currin and Hans Bieterling are the art world's new sex professionals. There is no lack of champions in this category -- Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, Richard Kern, Balthus, Hans Bellmer -- but no other recent attempts in this new millennium have so clearly lionized sexual transgression to such an elegant degree.

John Currin is a painter born in 1962, who has become famous for his Rockwell-Mannerism: a surrealistic Old Master technique of Americana. This is Currin's most recent work.

Hans Bieterling was born 1980 in Koblenz to Dutch parents. While going to art school in Berlin, Bieterling formed a band [Soundpool] to help pay for living expenses. He soon discovered that groupies could serve him as excellent models as well as sex slaves. His photographic vision is soft but often brittle in its subject treatment.






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