Amateur Afternoon at the X Initiative


Last night, as 73-year-old poet John Giorno cast his honey and hashish-scented spell over a rapt audience at Artists Space in Soho, a group of artists-many half a century younger than the poet-were busy making their own dreams come true: getting their work shown at a prestigious Chelsea art space. For 24 hours beginning the morning of February 3 at 11 AM, any and all artists were invited to show art at the X Initiative. The result was a Relational Aesthetic mini-masterpiece, inspired by curator Walter Hopps’ infamous 1978 event
“36 Hours,” and a fitting conclusion to a year of improvised but accomplished programming that added a dose of beneficent, renegade energy to an art world undone by bubbles and bursts.

The artworks on view—many executed by graduate and undergraduate students from New York art schools—were as ambitious as their creators (which, for the most part, meant quite ambitious). The overall look of the show-messy but not necessarily unformed-allowed for the suggestion that the intuitive process of curation isn’t in the sole possession of seasoned curators.

SVA MFA candidates Thomas Winchester and Yonatan Ullman showed notable, fully-realized works: the former exhibited a large figurative print that illustrated the formal aspects of digital imaging’s RGB colorscope; the latter created large-scale paintings with an abstract, colorblock tableau that recalled both travel and comic books. Former New School student Juan David Gonzalez Monroy presented an enchanting film depicting two roads, which slowly degraded because of damage done by the projector throughout the course of the 24-hour period, providing a unique temporal record of the event. Japanese artist Yoshihito Mizuuchi’s kinetic sculptures (including sealed, inflated Dunkin Donuts paper bags that magically tooled around the third floor and got underfoot like playful kittens) were clearly a crowd favorite, reaffirming that the unexpected is always appreciated.