Blog / Bill Thelen: Top Ten 2011


By Wendy

We always find something new at Lump gallery/projects in Raleigh. There, we love learning a thing or two from Bill Thelen, who is a natural teacher but also as curious and insightful as the best student. His wonderful sculpture, “Biscuit King,” co-created by Jerstin Crosby, is spending some time with us upstairs in a Nasher Museum office, just because Bill is so sweet.

It’s already been a year since Bill shared his Top Ten in this space. Below is Bill’s Top Ten for 2011, exclusive to the Nasher Museum Blog:

1 – After Shelly Duval ’72 (Frogs on the High Line) at Maccarone & Perfect Man ll at White Columns, NYC – Two amazing artist-curated shows by Bjarne Melgaarde and Rita Ackerman. I haven’t had such a physical reaction to a show like this in years. Thank god for the toilets at Starbucks and the nice walk from Maccarone to White Columns. The Kai Althoff at Perfect Man ll was a standout.

2 – From This Moment On – Mark Morrisroe at Artists Space, New York. – The first time I visited NYC in 1986, my friend took me to see his show at Pat Hearn. Years in the making, Morrisroe’s concise body of work has always been such an inspiration to me. The catalog is equally impressive.

3 – Transitional Effects – Sadie Benning at Participant – never fails to amaze. Her minimal paintings took me by surprise and her b&w music videos in the back picked up from her exit from Le Tigre. The pairing was baffling but made total sense.

4 – The NY Art Book Fair at PS1 – I hate art fairs, but this is one I can get into. I went back every day. The highlight of the fair was meeting Martha Wilson and getting her to sign my book. Everyone else was buzzing about Richard Prince selling his version of “Catcher in the Rye” on a blanket outside the fair.

5 – Moogfest, Asheville – I sold my ticket to Hopscotch (the All Day Records – All Day/All Night fest at Lump was far more ambitious and only $5!)  so I could attend the more adventurous music fest set in downtown Asheville, NC,  in October. Highlights included Suicide playing their first album in its entirety, The Field, Battles, Flying Lotus, Moon Duo, Tobacco, Ben Neill, Tim Hecker, and Hans – Joachim Roedelius. The only downside was that Little Dragon and Yacht canceled due to weather.

6 – John Neff Prints Robert Blanchon @ Golden, Chicago – Two great artists at work here. Robert Blanchon was the visiting professor at UNC when I first started grad school there. He had a tremendous influence on me. The always brilliant John Neff printed his Untitled (Aroma/1981) piece that was missing from his achieves. With precision and care, Neff recreated the piece unfixed so that it fades throughout the exhibition. Pure magic!

7 – Ray Johnson Fan Club (North Carolina edition; various locations) – We meet whenever we can, and the last meeting lasted over five hours! It’s funny that we can come together to talk about Ray Johnson, but the conversation always takes unexpected twists and turns that it leaves my head spinning from all the stimulating banter.

8 – Barrett Gentz – Revolver, San Francisco – There’s nothing I hate more than seeing art in clothing stores or restaurants, but I was blown away by his exhibition of manipulated photos and crystals. Hopefully, we convince this intriguing photographer/crystal hunter to come and do a show at Lump.

9 – Halsted Plays HimselfWilliam E. Jones – Halsted’s film L.A. Play’s Itself was shown in the company of Jack Smith, Warhol, George Kuchar, Kenneth Anger, and other underground film greats of the early 1970s. William E. Jones (an amazing filmmaker himself) takes a look at Fred Halsted’s life in this engrossing book. I also recommend his trilogy of catalogs by 2nd Cannons.

10 – Adam Gillam / Joe Orton & Kenneth Halliwell @ Ancient & Modern, London – Such a smart and odd pairing. Orton and Halliwell’s manipulated library books (which sent them to prison!) and Gillam’s delicate sculptures occupied that rare space between melancholy and the delinquent.

IMAGE: John Neff.

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