I should preface this post, by saying that on the way to the MOCA Gala last night I had a remarkable invitation to throw dubs on Camp Creek Parkway. As I was making my way down Northside in hellacious basketball game traffic I looked over and saw a girl signalling me to roll down my window. To my surprise and delight, she thought I looked like someone acceptable to invite to her party. Apparently Lil' Wayne and someone else whose name I missed was there. She promised me that they would have liquor and green and of course, celebrity sightings galore. To my dismay, when I woke up this morning I realized that in my morning-after a free-booze event stupor I forgot to go.
MOCA's Gala was a stunning example of what an difference a new space can make. The old exhibition space at Peachtree and 15th Street was terribly restrictive, not allowing for installations much larger than Sang-Wook Lee's ramen fortress (and even that seemed stunted by the ceiling height limitations). The new space, located in the old Lowe Gallery space, has been completey remodeled and is finally starting to look like a museum. The Gala last night was a good sign of things to come. The auction showcased 109 pieces by Georgia artists, and good pieces at that. Unlike Art Papers auction this year, which seemed to have gotten the scraps of every show in Atlanta last year, MOCA was able to get some stunning new pieces from around the state. Last night, the museum announced the next line-up for the Working Artist Project. I was super excited to hear that they chose Matt Haffner and Maria Artemis. I think Marcia Cohen is totally deserving of the grant, but I am curious to see the ArtNEWS reaction on account of the fact that she was just chosen for their multiples project in August.
This isn't the piece form the show, but I have to upload my images from last night still...
Matt Haffner's piece from his "Project for a Revolution" series was gorgeous. I love the pulp fiction quality of the images and the fact that he owns up to it entirely, reinventing scene compositions from classic film noir and comic book scenarios. Laura Noel's piece from her "Car Wash" series was a complete departure from her carefully considered portrait series she has worked on for the last few years. The piece from the show was actually several years old, but seemed to be one of the most fresh ones there. The image was an abstracted mesh of blues and greens, resembling a Rothko more than a photograph of a car wash. Danielle Roney's fluid architecture composition which she completed through her current grant from MOCA's Working Artist Project showed that they are getting their money's worth. The dynamic piece was easily one of the most captivating from the live auction, followed closely by Lucinda Bunnen and Susan Cofer. Peter Bahouth's sterescopic viewer had a gloriously voyeuristic quality to it, that could certainly let any Peeping Tom get his kicks out in a more benign manner. The scene captures a moment that seems to be just as a young woman wakes in the morning and is lazing in bed.
Hopefully the improved exhibition space will allow MOCA to become an even more important figure in shaping the Atlanta arts. For a city that lacks the number of museums of the average urban arts hub, it is good to see another institution really stepping up to the plate. I don't mean to say that MOCA was not already an important element of the Atlanta arts, but I think that the improved space will allow them to truley function as a museum now, and not just another gallery.
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