The Art Assassin 2

a nonfiction novel by Albert Wang, or a portrait of the artist as a young failure…

Impressions of Qi Peng’s One Day Installation “New Media” at Envoy Gallery, June 23, 2009 by James Kalm

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It was mid-afternoon by the time I finally wheeled my way one block east of the Bowery to Chrystie Street on the Lower East side. I’d already spent a couple of hours recording views of the James Ensor show at MoMA when I dropped in to visit Qi Peng’s “New Media” project. Although I cruse the LES (Lower East Side) constantly, and had heard of Envoy Gallery through friends, I’d never actually visited this venue before. With its black, graffiti covered façade, it looked more like a Punk club than art gallery.

Inside, beyond the reception desk with industriously working director and interns, the white walls were lined with a collection of various notes, letters, charts and text based works. Bouncing around, like a head chef at the height of lunch hour, was Qi Peng. I was already videoing, when Qi recognized me and whipped out his own camera. We were locked in a video duel, waiting to see who’d blink first. Qi stated that he’d started hanging early in the morning and would be continuously working on the installation, adding and shifting works, until its completion at 11:00 pm that evening. After introductions I toured the gallery viewing some of the pieces. I was impressed with Qi’s considerable collection of reject letters, including examples from several well known New York galleries. Also displayed were the sprayed paintings sent to the galleries as an introduction (an obvious sign of desperation, which gave me a chuckle). I, like most artists, have a more than passing familiarity with these form letters, having received several myself. It was refreshing to see such a self satisfied display of these dings. Hovering as I viewed the rest of the installation, Qi offered explanations and extrapolations. His graphs recording the openings and affiliations of galleries and other art world happenings were intriguing. Another series, recorded the brief but intensely tragic career of Qi Peng, the artist’s fictional alter ego dead at thirty-five. At the center of the installation, placed on a shinny black plinth surrounded by a circle of yellow folding chairs was the “Artist Book”. While viewing this self-published tome, Qi gave an impromptu explanation of “New Media” and his objectives in presenting this show. Many of the extensive interviews from the book, were push-pined to the walls, a rogue’s gallery of would-be art celebs, movers and shakers. Before I left, Qi invited me to a Rap performance scheduled for that evening, with a DJ who’d be using texts from some of William Powhida’s works as lyrics. Pondered while peddling across the Manhattan Bridge later, the exhibition recalled a visit to a busy kitchen, lots of things were cooking, and the complimentary aromas of various ideas wafted in the air,. The menu, after simmering would, no doubt, include a feast of institutional critique spiced with a hardy dose of celebrity worship and art world fandom. Is “New Media” just the latest study in social networking, or art whoredom? I guess it all depends of whose getting screwed.

James Kalm

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Written by qi peng

July 18, 2009 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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