November 2012 Artforum Coverby Albert Fallick-Wang
Fine art print on bright white, fine poly-cotton blend, matte canvas using latest generation Epson archival inks. Individually trimmed and hand stretched museum wrap over 1-1/2" deep wood stretcher bars. Includes wall hanging hardware.
ABOUT THE ART
Fallick-Wang's Ditch Projects is a provocative presentation of a semi-fictional art gallery as a conceptual installation piece which is being run by a fictional art dealer Robert Mott, who is the artist's alter ego as a performance artist. His self-reflexive artwork addresses issues of how contemporary art is presented as an intellectual and financial commodity by the gatekeepers who “control” the dialogue of how museum/gallery curators, viewers, and art critics deal with problematic subjects such as the often contentious relationship between curators and artists or how the intellectual value or fame of a painting, etc. cannot be separated from its monetary value at the auction house. Also this installation questions the boundaries between authentic and fake artworks by the gallery space presenting Xerox and photographic reproductions of original artworks alongside “actual” paintings created by a large scale Epson printer which is another form of mechanical reproduction.
Inspired by the controversial Triple Candie gallery and the Institutional Critique movement, the Ditch Projects space is a model of the typical Los Angeles or New York City white box contemporary art gallery which supplants the Locals Only Gallery area for a few months as an exhibition within an exhibition concept. Here the Ditch Projects will be showing an exhibition entitled “Studies for a Revolution in New York City,” which will be presented in medias res where some of the works will be hung and labeled while others will be leaning against the wall on the floor as if the gallery were in between shows. Within this exhibition in an exhibition, Fallick-Wang embarks on a satirical exploration of how many collectors have devalued their interaction with the pieces they cull as an investment without trying to understand the layers of meaning of their artworks. For example, the inkjet painting This Painting Here Is Valued at $1,000,000 (2012) contains the very title of the painting as the subject itself. By the artist putting a faux blue chip price tag on a seemingly facile painting created digitally, Fallick-Wang suggests that all too often artworks are measured by their superficial appeal to the viewer's eyes rather than the worth of the piece as a catalyst for profound discussion. The sculpture Artist Submissions (2012) comprises a plastic trash can which contains discarded paintings, photographs, and drawings full of craftsmanship sitting beside a art dealer's table full of art books, notes, a framed portrait of Robert Mott, a workspace laptop, and artworks in the process of being evaluated by an imaginary curator in the middle of the gallery space. This particular piece will include collaborations with Denver-based artist Donald Fodness as well as the artist's wife Katrina Fallick-Wang. Here the artist deconstructs the process of how a gallery roster is created typically through the seemingly subjective taste like that of a stock portfolio manager who looks at artworks for its financial beauty rather than that of an art philosopher who understands how artworks fit within their own context when grouped together.
The installation Ditch Projects addresses ideas of the contemporary art world ranging from art magazine advertising to photocopies of artwork being presented as original pieces. Here the series includes a pair of fictional ARTFORUM advertisements, one of which is for the Ditch Projects gallery at UMOCA and the other is for the exhibition “Studies for a Revolution in New York City” being presented within the Ditch Projects as an exhibition within an exhibition like the structure of a Borgesian short story. This concept of pairing even extends to Fallick-Wang presenting the separate press releases for both UMOCA and the Ditch Projects as artworks in their own right in the form of large-scale photographs in an edition. With his humorously critical eye, the artist probes in a daring manner the way that artworks get to be known by the general public through brilliant marketing of commodities rather than the crucial notions contained within the artwork itself.
In the end, Fallick-Wang asks the viewer an essential question: Is the Ditch Projects gallery itself a place for dialogue about art or a art brokerage firm where the pieces exchange hands between the buyer and seller without concern for the artist's intentions?