Thursday, March 4, 2010

Animal Collective And Danny Perez Took Over The Guggenheim - Pictures, Review

Tonight at the Guggenheim the members of Animal Collective, along with video artist Danny Perez, took over the entire museum from head to toe. Obviously there was more than a little interest, as a last minute afternoon show was added, and the evening show was packed to capacity. And with good reason: Animal Collective have been pushing artistic boundaries for years now, and this latest site specific installation promised to be another compelling instance of their creative craftsmanship.


To start with, it's important to note that the event was not a concert. Rather, it was a site specific installation that included audio, projected video, and sculpture. While there were times when the audio sounded slightly as though it could have been from Animal Collective's most experimental moments, for the most part it was a largely ambient and generative audio experience. Speakers were placed throughout the space, and mixed to give the feeling of a transient, enveloping soundscape.

The sculptures were contained on the first floor rotunda, and were host to three costumed players, who we're guessing were the members of Animal Collective. The sculpture included mounds with lit reflective "eyes", and a central platform of inverted "icicles". The three players, looking like a bizarre cross between Bib Fortuna and a hooded organization we'd rather not name, stood on top of the mounds and made slight movements throughout the evening. At the rear of the rotunda was a larger mound that served as a recipient for projected images.

And those images are what made up the remainder of the installation. Not just on the rotunda mound, mind you, but spanning the entire museum from floor to ceiling. The projections ranged in the clarity of their pattern, but generally consisted of abstract colors and patterns that played well over the space and its occupants. In fact, one of the most fascinating parts of the evening was gradually taking note of how the light played off of the Guggenheim's unique architecture.

While we're not exactly sure if tonight's event had a particular artistic bent, we will say this: it worked. The acoustics were fantastic, the video yielded a unique and beautiful interpretation of the museum's architecture, and the audio/sculpture combination allowed for the interpretation of the bizarre for which Animal Collective has become known. What's more, the event attracted an incredibly diverse crowd, with attendees ranging from couples in cocktail-wear to kids in full on face paint. Suffice it to say, such artistic endeavors by rock bands are not only something we highly approve of, but something we'd like to see a lot more of in the future. Well played.

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, really? I couldn't stand more than an hour of it. Slightly cool, in the way that museum exhibits are cool - you observe for a few minutes then move on to the next. Charging $25 for that was robbery.

Anonymous said...

Guggenheim didn't do the best job of clarifying what the program was before hand. I, and most of the people I went with were at least expecting the band to be there performing...when you say "presenting Animal Collective" what do you expect people to think? At least say something like "featuring the music of Animal Collective." Having to pay 30bucks to see that was not fair.

Anonymous said...

this installation was the worst. the emperor isn't wearing any clothes. half baked idea.

Erik said...

Total waste! Gugg just ripped off a thousand plus people. This wasn't marketed correctly at all. A concert with the video art that D. Perez does. Not some screensavers with some annoying looped bullshit ambient sounds. Absolutely not worth $30. Feel ripped off. Annoyed.

hippiesaredead said...

To be fair, the press release was pretty clear that it was a site specific installation, and not a concert. Although, if that's what you were expecting, this definitely might have disappointed...

Anonymous said...

From my observations of the people around me, I felt that many were there for more of a concert. A crowd broke out singing in a back room - probably pretty amped to be there to see a show and releasing some of that excitement with a show of their own. Yet many in the crowd were very serious about absorbing it as a personal experience and an art expression - which was true to the description. I think though, being animal collective, you really didnt quite know what they were going to to - despite the clear description. were they going to break out?? Seemed to be always teetering.

I think one of beauties of it was that you didnt quite know if it was a show or purely an art installation. Was it really them under there? They seemed at first like they were playing something while standing there, but they weren't - or were they? Were the sounds creeping toward a musical piece, or was it just chaos?

I enjoyed it for the conversations about what it was with my friend, trying to follow the sounds, the technical achievement, and the play on the space.

After concentrating on it for such a long time, I came out picking up on many more sounds around me - footsteps, subway doors, honks, rustling of paper.

All-in-all, well done!!!

Ian said...

terrible, the jokes on us. animal collective made a ton of cash and sh*t in our ears for about 3 hours. don't be an indie fanboy and get sucked into the hype.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me!? What animal collective and Danny Perez did last night is the utter definition of "pretentious high art" otherwise known as a RIP OFF. If they want to charge kids 30 bucks to see simplistic light projections and a cheesy ice sculpture with unlistenable looped music they are more deluded than I suspected. I thought the blue man group show was 1000 times more inventive and entertaining than this. And for the record I have seen animal c. In concert and like their music. The whole time I was wondering when is this gonna get started!? Total waste. Shame on you panda bear!

Anonymous said...

Complete waste of time and money, it was an obvious venture for the museum/band to overcharge and make profit from the public. In no way was the space utilized to its utmost potential. The band did not make any appearance and did not play any of their music. Rather they played their “composed” hour of bird chirping and sound effects which did not suffice for $30 entrance fee plus extra for drink tickets. Overall, i felt that the installation lacked the music component of the experience which the band should have represented. After all music is art and vice versa. It was lacking visually and misleading. I do not respect the museum or those who were in charge of curating this event. It’s hard to believe that this installation was up for an entire total of 6 hours in one day. Never again!

Go Green said...

Last nights crap was crap...what a waste of time and money, christ if everyone there would've donated their money to a charity instead of showing up, that would have meant something. This kind of douche-baggery has been done over an over, and anyone that can't see it, is a complete moron. Where is this review from? Were you at the same place I was at yesterday? The release was extremely vague and misleading as to what was going to happen (nothing)...I could have sat in bed and jerked off to "Empire" for 8 hours for free...Hippies are Dead? Hippies only existed off mommy and daddy's bank account. Loser of the Day list: Animal Collective; Danny Perez; Hippies are Dead; AC fans taken for a $25-30 ride.

Anonymous said...

While leaving the Guggenheim event I had several thoughts. Of course, I would be lying if I didn't share how much I really wanted to see them play live in the Guggenheim rotunda, even if it meant collaborating with Danny Perez. All the better, really. I paid $30 and figured it would be well worth it. I went to the 4:30 show and when I was standing in line before the show and then once in the show I realized a majority of the attendees were late teens early 20 something's. 30$ is a lot of money for most young adults. As an artist myself I don't think art, in any form, needs to be spelled out for the audience, however when money is involved I believe the artist(s) have a lot more explaining to do. Danny Perez didn't draw the crowd, it was animal collective and yet we seemed to have paid for a Danny Perez piece. The 3 hour performance was an endurance test, both for the audience and the members of animal collective, who remained costumed and standing for the duration of the performance. Manwhile, Danny Perez was somewhere in the croud counting his $$$. Overall, it was an interesting piece of sights and sounds, but not $30 interesting.

hippiesaredead said...

Applying value to art is a tough game: how is it that one artistic presentation (say, a concert from Animal Collective) would have been "worth" $30, yet somehow last night's event was not "worth" that much?

Art, for better or worse, is subjective. When you're entering into an artistic endeavor, either as a viewer or an artist, the applied concept of "worth" loses most meaning. It really comes down to the individual's subjective judgement, as clearly illustrated in the comments here.

Anonymous said...

To Answer your first question. First and foremost, animal collective is a band, who sell records and tour under said name. Animal Collective could have chosen some other performance name or their respective individual names when marketing this performance. It was misleading. Animal Collective was a pawn in Danny Perez's art piece. For reasons why many of us admire them is because they are not easily categorized or limited to their art form as a band. However, they have a fan base who support them and I believe animal collective is aware of that relationship. If animal collective wasn't used in the marketing of the performance, the whole performance would have been heard by a few museum goers and staff.

Max (now Elke!) said...

Judging by the number of kids at the show, it was misrepresented. If you re-read the description i believe that anco rightly described what you were getting into. the pre-amble by the guggenheim played it up to be more of a music performance. I would blame the guggenheim (intern?) who wrote the description rather than the band.

Anonymous said...

by the way, the guggenheim charged me $18 on Saturday to have a dinner-like conversation with randoms while walking up the rotunda. conversation art. huh?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the show sucked. I have sat through an entire Stan Brakhage film and seen all of Matthew Barney's films, so don't tell me I didn't understand it.

Anonymous said...

I knew this would be an installation with ambient sound...but even so, it was lousy. I was waiting for this cacophony of bird-like noises, to feel immersed in the space, to feel something if not see something. But nada. Just a bunch of club projections and videos above the drone of electronic sounds. Nothing more. Boo on them for charging $30 for that! Seriously!

Rachael said...

I call this installation: 300 hipsters get duped. I get "art." I love installation art. I love animal collective. Mostly I love the two because they make me FEEL something. Listening to animal collective makes you feel like you're a primal animal running through the jungle. Art makes you think. I did neither of the two... only wondered why they marketed this as a THREE HOUR ordeal when it could have easily taken me 10 minutes to "get it." Complete failure of execution... Was anyone else supremely annoyed by how two of the projectors were CLEARLY PROJECTORS. Looked like some stuff I could throw up on the wall of my apartment for a party. I'm sorry... I've seen lights and visuals match up with noise/music before. This was so half assed and lack luster. The audio could have been a lot more cohesive... I could go on for ever and ever. BLEW. (still love animal collective though) Only redeeming factor is that this would have been AWESOME had I been tripping.

Andra said...

My first love in NYC deeply disappointed me yesterday this evening with an appalling scam, and for that I will forever be heartbroken. It was only a "kinetic, psychedelic environment" for those who chose to individually make it that way - when do a few blow-up figures with lights shining on them and a sound machine of frogs croaking count as an exhibition, especially one that honors what once was a symbol of what makes New York, New York? I like Animal Collective, but they didn't even perform - everything was prerecorded and the ushers claimed that they had been standing still in their costumes for 8 hours straight, but even if that was the truth, that doesn't warrant respect nor the absurd entry fee. Honor the glorious architecture of
the museum instead of spending way too much effort (and ironically money) to bare the walls and make it a waste of space. I know that we
are in the middle of an economic downturn, but at least make an effort - I was far more impressed by the music in the pits of the L-train of a long lost friend from Elementary School than I was by the
"performance art" last tonight. In answer to the question, "is there a pattern or is it just your imagination?" I think we can all safely agree that it is neither. In fact, I think I lost a few brain cells.

Anonymous said...

Of course art has no intrinsic economic value like fossil fuels or fertile land. Its true value is most certainly a subjective matter. But how can you argue against so many disappointed people who are not the average everyday layman. The people that went last night are well educated about art and music otherwise they wouldn't have even gone. The attenddees last night know that pavement is superior to creed or that Kubrick is superior to Steven seagal movies.

Basically the installation failed to elicit a significant emotional or intellectual reaction and instead resulted in boredom, disgust, or disappointment. Total fail. Case closed