thru Sept 10:

Just Knocked Out
 Lara Favaretto

MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, NY
Subway E,G,M,7 (intersection of 46th Ave)

first survey of Lara Favaretto (b. Treviso, 1973), comprising a dozen works from the past fifteen years, as well as new pieces created specifically for the exhibition. Favaretto’s installations and audio, sculptural, and kinetic works balance between failure and aspiration. A sense of resignation to the forces of decay and obsolescence runs throughout her work—most visibly in her minimal cubes made of confetti, which decompose during the period of their display. - thru July 29

Yesterday Andrew and I went to PS 1 for Warm Up and I had rosé and really really good fluke crudo; I also enjoyed Nguzunguzu’s set quite a bit. But yesterday’s weather was definitely not built for being outside for hours at a time, and so to escape the blistering sun we went inside and checked out some of the art. A good part of the first floor was given over to the Italian artist Lara Favaretto, who creates big, almost audacious installation pieces—the first room of her exhibition had a floor of dirt, and a box containing a special item that only she knew about had been buried somewhere underneath. There was also a piece in which a bunch of car-wash brushes went on and off at certain intervals, creating fabric whirlygigs that looked like Sweetums spinning around.

By far my favorite piece of hers was “We All Fall Down,” a room full of confetti that also contained four intermittently on and off electric fans. Most of the confetti was pushed into canyons and dunes by the fans’ strength, but pieces were constantly fluttering around, and I was memerized. Later on I realized it was because in a way it mirrors the way my brain gets when I am happy—brightly colored and briefly airborne before settling gracefully into a place where it might once again be pushed upward. 

(James Turrell’s Meeting was also stunning, although I’m not going to describe it because you need to be surprised by its grandeur in order to appreciate it fully. Which isn’t to say that you should only see it once; I plan on going back next time I attend Warm Up.) 

(photo by Eugene Nikiforov)

Art can’t change your life - its not a diet programme or the latest guru - it offers no quick fixes. What art can do, is to prompt in us authentic desire. By that I mean it can waken us to truths about ourselves and our lives; truths that normally lie suffocated under the pressure of the twenty-four hour emergency zone called real life. Art can bring us back to consciousness, sometimes quietly, sometimes dramatically, but the responsibility to act on what we find, is ours.

I know of a man, a Quaker, who volunteered as an ambulance driver in World War Two. While other men had pictures of their sweethearts in their breast pockets, he carried a photo of a Queen Anne chair.

In his despair at where human folly had brought him and millions of others, he needed to remember the glory of the human spirit, as well as its loss. Like Barbara Hepworth, he believed that art affirms and sustains life at its highest level.

Image Caption: Lara Favaretto, installation view of It Can (Not) Advance, 2011, in the exhibition Fuoriclasse, GAM, Milan, 2012, confetti, 35 7⁄16 x 35 7⁄16 x 35 7⁄16 in. (90 x 90 x 90 cm); Private collection, Sweden. Photo: Delfino Sisto Legnani

Text excerpted from Jeanette Winterson’s essay for The Guardian titled What is art for?, glimpsed again on the walls of the Braddock Carnegie Library during the 2013 Carnegie International


Lara Favaretto
“A room of multi-colored confetti, Tutti Giu per Terra (2004), incites a thwarted, childlike desire to play. Behind a glass window, pieces of confetti create an amorphous sea of color in a small room, while three electric fans gently nudge some pieces into the air. The fragments swirl like bits of snow, as the fans cause a tantalizing ripple.”

Lara Favaretto, Just Knocked Out, on view at MoMA PS1

From the press release: <<Favaretto represents the eventuality of loss through a recuperative memorialization, often recycling elements from previous installations as new works, reusing discarded industrial materials, and encasing found paintings in loose tapestries of wool yarn. The memorial form is pointedly evoked in a series that the artist calls “momentary monuments”>>.