Circulating contemporary arts collections
Published: Monday, May 14, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 14, 2012 01:05
From cyborgs to cockfights, the Tampa Museum of Art (TMA) offers visitors a unique range of exhibits to choose from. To keep you up-to-date, The
Oracle takes a look at some recent exhibits.
Don ZanFagna — “Cyborg Notes” Jan. 28 to May 6
An avid environmentalist, Don ZanFagna created his “Cyborg Notes” series in the late ’60s and early ’70s to warn people of the potential danger of DNA mixing.
The exhibit features multimedia collages that combine elements of computers and humans. The outline of nude men and women on futuristic spreadsheets is a recurring image in the collection and is represented as both humorous and foreboding.
In “Cyborg Note 3,” an outline of the male genitalia is labeled “Infinite Input” while the female hips are given the title “Horizontal Holds. This piece presents sex as a “Junction” and takes away human sexuality, replacing it with mechanical reproduction.
While visitors filed in and out of this exhibit, a young boy stood speechless in front of “Cyborg Note 157.”
John Cage — “33 1/3” Jan. 28 to May 6
While originally created in 1969, John Cage’s “33 1/3 — Performed by Audience” was installed in commemoration of the centenary of Cage’s birth.
John Cage is known for his experimental pieces that rely on chance and improvisation. “4’33,” perhaps Cage’s most famous composition, is
performed with musicians sitting silently while the audience listens to the sounds of the surrounding environment.
The “33 1/3” exhibit is anything but silent. It contains 12 record players and a wide collection of vinyl. The barrier between audience and art is removed as museum visitors choose their favorite records and play them at whatever volume they desire.
The chaotic sounds of “33 1/3” depend on the taste of the audience, providing limitless ways in which to perform the composition. Some preferred to play 12 records at once. Others battled The Beatles against The White Stripes, and one woman turned off all but one record to hear the voice of Marvin Gaye fill the room.
Various Artists — “Masterworks of 20th Century Sculpture from the Martin Z. Margulies Collection” Mar. 31 to Sept. 9
As a comparison of different representations of the human figure, this exhibit displays sculptures from a variety of artists.
Some of the sculptures on display are nearly human. A quick glance could mistake George Segal’s “Three People on Four Benches” for living people
resting at the museum. In the positions and expressions of the sculptures, Segal captures complete loneliness and alienation as part of everyday life.
Willem de Kooning’s bronze sculpture also represented a figure on a bench, but lessrealistically. “Woman Seated on a Bench” takes on a compact, rough form and is a more surreal of the human. The only easily definable body parts in this sculpture are the hands, which are Kooning’s gloves
covered in bronze.
This gallery of figure sculpture was the most crowded of all the exhibits, with people lining up to read descriptions of each work.
Erik Levine — “Object Image” Mar. 10 to Sept. 23
Erik Levine’s exhibit explores the complexities of power and masculinity with overbearing sculptures and biting videos.
It is impossible to miss the large plywood installation in Levine’s exhibit. The 14-foot sculpture is comically named “Hand Held” and will remain on permanent display at the TMA. While the size of “Hand Held” makes it stand out in the room, the subjects in Levine’s videos are just as difficult to ignore.
His work “cocker” brings the audience through the events leading up to a cockfight. The video focuses on the ways in which men train their roosters to fight without hesitation. The piece does not show the actual fight, but keeps sight of the empty box that the rooster once inhabited.