Shana Beth Mason
SHANA BETH MASON is an art critic based in Brooklyn. Contributions include Art in America, Artillery Magazine, ArtVoices Magazine (Los Angeles), FlashArt International, Kunstforum.as (Oslo), The Miami Rail, thisistomorrow.info (London), San Francisco Arts Quarterly and Whitehot Magazine.
Tranquil, sunny scenes of a British town fill the first frames of Gillian Wearings latest film, We Are Here, showing at Maureen Paleys landmark gallery in East London.
In the Basement Boiler Room of MoMA PS1, an installation known as Central Governor quietly resides in the form of a glimmering, gilded furnace. The current state of the machine is the result of an extended performance168 days from preparation to completionexecuted in 2010 by Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Saul Melman.
Convenience demands that a 65 year-old American artist with more than 30 years of exhibition history, bolstered by one of the longest-operating contemporary galleries in the world, would overpower (in visual and literal modes) a 36 year-old German academic and painter who has never shown in New York before (with San Francisco being his only other American host city).
Works of art made under the auspices of grave illness or impending demise require a delicate approach from the critic: both an observational clarity and a genuine empathy. Derek Jarmans final feature-length film Blue (1993) is a freestanding aesthetic construct, but it is nonetheless determined by its existence as a final, courageous act.