By: Michael Goodson
For the past year I’ve been working on the über “mixed tape.” (You can call it what you want to fit whatever paradigm—digital or analog—you prefer.) I’ve come to think of it as both a work of art (an edition of 100 with a few artist’s proofs) and a curatorial endeavor, and titled it An Act of Hubris: 357 of My Favorite Songs in No Particular Order…For What It’s Worth…Probably Nothing.
It started with mixed-CD exchanges I was having with some artist friends. Simon Evens, for instance, is a Kiss fan, able to lucidly delineate between their earlier, “brilliant” output and their descent into comic book treacle after Destroyer. Eric Swenson really likes “Surfin’ Bird” and actually prefers Sha-Na-Na’s version to the classic Trashmen or even Ramones versions, which is unthinkable to me. In the midst of doing this I realized that our attempt to understand ourselves via these songs was an apt application of post-structuralist theory. The record you liked when you were 14 pushing up against that which your current brain chemistry allows you to understand and enjoy—all the various contexts and relational positions being brought to bear.
It’s become a meditative time sink, a way for me to relax in the wee hours while my family sleeps. I might think of a song I had somehow missed that must be in the mix. Or edit, begrudgingly, a song I love in order to make room for something more imperative. I recently cut the Partridge Family’s “Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque” to make way for the Jam’s “Art School.” A sound choice, I reckon. In any case, this little project has become curiously important to me.
There’s the third movement from Maurice Ravel’s Piano Trio in A Minor. There’s a poem by Charles Bukowski read by Tom Waits. Mostly, though, as the title suggests, it is songs from various genres—by Hank Williams, Black Flagg, Nina Simone, the Stooges, the Louvin Brothers, Gang Starr, Loretta Lynn, Mississippi John Hurt…and so on.
All of this is apropos of what I envision for exhibitions at CCAD and, in fact, my curatorial perspective in general. To be clear: This idea that Thelonious Monk’s “Abide with Me” can and should sit next to the Bad Brains’ “Pay to Cum,” both of which are, in turn, well paired with Hank Williams’ “The Angel of Death,” is not the idea behind one good exhibition. (I am, after all, also a believer in the concepts of Harald Szeemann, the father of modern curation, so I like art to be assembled in a precise, graceful, layered, and cogent manner.) It’s a path through an arch of exhibitions over a period of time. Exhibition concepts will always be challenging but will also always attempt to be inclusive of the CCAD family, Columbus generally, or, for all practical purposes, whoever might wander into the gallery on a given day. I, for one, always want my mixed tapes to teach the people to whom they are gifted. It is my hope that each person will discover something new in spirit of these little receptacles. (Try me. Teach me something. Hand me a mixed tape and I will, within a week or so, respond in kind.)
Bio: CCAD Director of Exhibitions Michael Goodson joined the college in August. Previously, he worked at the James Cohan Gallery in New York City, where he started in 2003 and was promoted to exhibitions director in 2006. Concurrent with his work at James Cohan, he taught sculpture and installation art at Hunter College; he has also taught sculpture at Wright State and Wittenberg universities. He holds a BFA from Wright State University and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art.
Side story: On view until December 6 in CCAD’s Canzani Center Gallery is Supply and Demand, an exhibition of work made with repurposed consumer goods, curated by CCAD adjunct graduate faculty member (and associate curator of contemporary art at the Columbus Museum of Art) Lisa Dent. Michael Goodson’s first curated exhibitions will be Bending the Mirror, a show about contemporary figuration opening on February 10, and home, a three-artist show of paintings and photographs about suburbia opening on March 2.
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