At Matsumiya, Rainer Ganahl Reveals Art’s Underpinnings

THE DAILY PIC: The Austrian artist photographs art's backstories.


THE DAILY PIC (#1420): This photograph by the Austrian artist Rainer Ganahl is from his show at Kai Matsumiya gallery in New York. It is part of a five-photo work with the nicely explanatory title of AA Bronson, The Institute for Art, Religion and Social Justice, Union Theological Seminary, New York 10/6/2010, which points to the people and places and moments it depicts – in this case, a talk by a Canadian-born artist who was once part of the important gay collective known as General Idea, whose two other members died from AIDS.

Like similar works from Ganahl’s new Seminar/Lecture series, this one reveals something that’s mostly ignored: That art is as much about the art world’s social contexts, connections and conversations – on display at events such as lectures and seminars – as it is about the finished works we all profess to love. This isn’t a paranoid or even particularly critical position: All human creations depend upon the cultures and contexts that give birth to them; they also reflect them, one way or another. Ganahl just makes that act of reflection the central motor for his art.

Now I want him to make another body of images that show people like yours truly standing around in Matsumiya’s gallery taking in Ganahl’s own Seminar/Lecture photos, and talking them through. After all, without that moment of appreciation and assimilation, no artwork truly exists.

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