As contemporary art seems to be increasingly the province of the 1% with continuous record-breaking auctions, it may be difficult to appreciate the revolutionary origins of modernism. Early 20th century art movements like Constructivism, Futurism, and Dada sought an aesthetic, social, and political break with the past, often with utopian goals for the future. A trio of solo shows at Commonwealth & Council aim to reinvigorate contemporary art with this revolutionary zeal.
With her Phoenix Rising series, Jennifer Moon explores the revolutionary potential of love, with ample doses of candor and humor. One particularly memorable image from Phoenix Rising, Part 2 featured Moon seated in a “Black Panther” style wicker chair, with her Pomeranian at her feet—both of them wearing matching red berets. For Moon, the personal is indeed political. A far cry from Malevich’s severe, stark black square, Moon’s work is idiosyncratic and playful, though her aims are no less radical. Phoenix Rising, Part 3: laub, me, and The Revolution (The Theory of Everything) resembles a junior high school science fair exhibit that provides a blueprint for revolution on both a macro and micro scale. The centerpiece is JLS (Jennifer laub Smasher) (2015), a model made of popsicle sticks and construction toys that snakes through the gallery. It resembles a DIY version of the Large Hadron Collider, only instead of smashing protons together, it will send Moon and her partner laub hurtling towards each other at the speed of light. Instead of the Higgs boson particle, they are searching for a new form of love free from “hierarchies, binaries, and capital,” as an explanatory panel states. 3D-printed figures of the pair stand at the entry point, ready to embark on their experiment. It is a charming and whimsical riff on Quantum Theory.