We increasingly tend to think of all contemporary art as some sort of installation art. After all, most painters don't just produce a stand-alone canvas, but envision it being encountered in a certain order among their other works, from certain vantage points, illuminated in a certain manner, hung at a certain height, etc. To paraphrase what a famous music critic once wrote about rap, installation art has become the dominant visual art paradigm by incorporating every other genre. Still, it's useful to bear in mind how installations can incorporate other art forms, as with three current exhibitions throughout the city.
At the relatively new LMAKProjects space on the Lower East Side, Dutch artist Lisselot van der Heijden continues her ruminations on nature with her installation Dissonance, which incorporates video art and subtle performances by the artist and visitors. With live feeds and video of a mounted deer head, van der Heijden brings us into the work, projecting our image on the gallery wall as we move further into the installation. Mounting viewers' heads alongside the starring deer, she undermines the ways we represent and isolate nature in museum displays (accompanying photographs show visitors at the American Museum of Natural History) and mediated encounters like TV programs. Her installation points (almost too) cautiously to a fundamental disconnection between the ways we think of nature and the lived reality of those endangered spaces and species.
At the ever-inventive Cueto Projects in Chelsea, artist collective The Bruce High Quality Foundation's exhibition Empire (left) re-imagines another mediated, perpetually endangered space: New York City. Fusing painting, sculpture, photography and video, they've created a fair in which each work offers a new (or old) version of the city based on utopian architectural and urban theories. One piece turns New York into a giant pizza (Famous Ray's, surely), its buildings strewn about like so many mushrooms and anchovies. Elsewhere the city grid becomes rows of ceramic slot machines. Coming to the city is a gamble, certainly, and we're left to ponder how long we can stand to lose before the flashing lights and loud noises lose their luster. These and other works cast the city as a place of dreary routines and magical transformations.