Dallas-based Ludwig Schwarz is sincerely 'zeitgeist'
| Bespoke or mass market? Record of an event, or testament to a prolific imagination? Dallas-based Ludwig Schwarz plays games with originality, autonomy, and production to question the role of art in a consumer culture. His one-man show, chronologic (carry on) is at Three Walls gallery through Friday, March 26, by appointment.
"Once I rose above the noise and confusion/just to get a glimpse beyond the illusion," opens the lyrics from Kansas' 1976 hit, "Carry On Our Wayward Son," a guitar loop from which plays noisily in the background of Ludwig Scwharz' exhibit, chronologic (carry on), at Three Walls through Friday. Observers and critics of Schwarz' 15-year career have credited him with exposing the economic mechanisms that drive the art world, for instance by commissioning large-scale paintings from China for mass production, or pricing starving-artist-style pictures with tacky furniture in a show called Rentown; and with laying bare the directionless hubbub that comprises contemporary society in a choppy animated video of an out-of-sync horse.
Schwarz' work does not submit to easy encapsulation, however. As Three Walls director Michele Monseau forewarned me, it's highly conceptual work, and viewers often have a lot of questions about it. And, like contemporary society, there is constant noise and distraction that must be filtered in order to find a transportable meaning, if it's there to be found.
| After a brief, and economically circumscribed, flirtation with bespoke consumer goods, mass production is back in style. How could it not be with 6 billion people and counting on the planet? |
Perhaps the best clue to pair with that painting is the title above the film descriptions, which reads, "Carry On (Time Heals All Wounds)." The decomposing piece of meat could be a pointed rebuttal that many things just worsen with time until they rot away entirely, but we're kidding ourselves to call it healing. As part of the shelf which supports the screening movies, it's also a reminder that it's very easy for ethnic and poor males to be seen and treated as slabs of meat - consumable, dispensable, replaceable - whether it's as soldiers, inmates, or former pawns, er ... allies.
| chronologic (carry on)
Through March 26
106D Blue Star, Bldg B #106D
And as populations continue to explode, and immigration and resource depletion create greater pressures, we are likely to become more, not less, militaristic and enamored of conformity. To that end, we need critiques that encompass the actual possibilities for change or improvement as much or more than we require subjective laments. Schwarz' work has a playfulness that can be liberating or irritating depending on how oppressed one still feels by "art," but a sense of sincerity and thoroughness comes through, making the shortcomings worth the price of passing insight. •
` By Elaine Wolff `