Tuesday, October 14, 2014

60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC // Walter Peter and Anna Yema Ditzel

photo © Nils_Klinger
The following was announced on the windows of a small blue house at
dOCUMENTA (13), the summer 2012 installment of the international art exhibition that takes place every five years in Kassel, Germany: The “60 wrd/min art critic” is available. Reviews are free of charge, and are written here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays between the hours of 1 and 6 p.m. Lori Waxman will spend 25 minutes looking at submitted work and writing a 200-word review. Thoughtful responses are guaranteed. Completed reviews will be published in the Hessische/NiedersächsischeAllgemeine (HNA) weekly, and will remain on view here throughout dOCUMENTA (13).

Lori Waxman is an art critic and historian who lives in Chicago. For d13 she decamped to Kassel for three-and-a-half months, together with her husband Michael Rakowitz, an artist also included in the exhibition, and their daughter Renée, who at the time was two-and-a-half years old. Lori wrote a total of 241 reviews during the course of the project. A few of them were for artists whose work revealed their existence as parents; some were even for children.   

A book of the entire project was published by Onestar Press, with an afterword by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, the artistic director of dOCUMENTA (13). It can be purchased in print or downloaded as a free PDF.  Over the next few weeks Cultural ReProducers will share a series of reviews excerpted from the project, which recognizes children and parents as relevant participants in cultural dialogue.

Walter Peter

Walter Peter
Children live in another, parallel universe that sometimes overlaps but mostly conflicts with the adult world. In a series of large colorful paintings and high contrast pencil drawings made using digitally altered photographs of his two young daughters, Walter Peter envisions this realm of endless curiosity, rampant play and unmetered time. On this planet, when balls are dropped and roll, cause and effect is learned. When swings go higher and higher, excitement and risk are tested. How does this work? What does that do? How does it feel, taste, smell? The world is fascinating to children, and children are fascinating to adults. That’s partly why we have them. But children are also mischievous and careless. Any honest parent knows this, though few admit it. Peter does, in drawings whose unforgivingly dark pencils and blown-out details sketch the edge between children having fun and children being impish trolls.

—Lori Waxman 8/15/12 2:47 PM

60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC  //  KASSEL  //  237

Anna Yema Ditzel

I love rainbows. Who doesn’t? But most of us, myself included, would be too unsentimental, or too afraid of appearing sentimental, or naïve, or guileless, to actually paint a picture of
Anna Yema Ditzel
one. For this, as for many other images and acts of the simplest joy and beauty, we need a child. And here we have one: Anna Yema Ditzel, age five, who loves to paint not just the large canvas she presents here but also playthings, tables and walls. Apart from the general loveliness of rainbows, which Ditzel certainly captures, and the accompanying pleasantness of a big green field and a bright blue sky dappled with plump white clouds, what distinguishes her painting from other similar representations is three-fold. Ditzel gives the rainbow in question more than the usual number of colors and arranges them in a novel order. She portrays the sun with not just yellow rays but also green ones. Finally, she signs her name without any restraint, using half the hues on her palette to write the letters A-N-N-A out twice, tall and energetic, as if they were horses running free across the grassy field of her imagination.

—Lori Waxman 9/15/12 3:15 PM

Also in this series: 
60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC // Yi-Ping Hou, Sylvia Krüger, and Charlotte Lohr
60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC // Julie Bernattz and Sofia Frank de Morais Barreira