Originally published May 19, 2010 by CityArts
It has long been my contention that video is the most challenging contemporary art form. The reason is that anyone can do it. Look at YouTube—who isn’t making videos? They are easy to make, but here’s the rub: it’s difficult to make them good and meaningful. The exhibition by Patricia Esquivias at Murray Guy is a prime example.
The show consists of two videos that are so amateurish in both concept and execution that it’s hard to know what to say about them. The first, “Natures at the Hand” is a group of three shorts, each about two minutes long. One is a woman throwing a basketball at an unbreakable window as the sun sets. It’s been edited so that the window hits coincide with the sinking sun. OK, I get it. The second is a close-up of a hand lighting matches from a collection of matchbooks. The third is a juxtaposition of images from books of European topiary and local topiary from Guadalajara, Mexico. Cute. Though the gallery press release praises Esquivias as a “storyteller,” there is no evidence of it in this unlinked group of videos. They are neither interesting visually nor compelling intellectually.
The second piece, “Folklore lll,” is more ambitious and indeed, it is more narrative than anything else. A complicated and hesitantly narrated story about two places that remain unnamed, this video seeks to make a story about buildings and “place.” There are references to pyramids, tile and a tourist attraction called Land’s End. However, without reading the gallery explanation of the narrative, it remains impenetrable. There is no beginning, middle or end to this story. I watched it twice, hoping for enlightenment.
Sometimes there’s just nothing on TV.
Through June 12. Murray Guy, 453 W. 17th St., 212-463-7372.