A feature article written by curator Catherine Wood in the February 2013 issue of Artforum focuses on SVA alumus Ei Arakawa (BFA 2004 Fine Arts) and his eccentric experimental art style. “To participate in or witness an Arakawa piece is to experience immediacy as framed, rehearsed—to see the neo-avant-garde encounter registered as a singles’ night, or the utopian collective occurring in a postproduction video,” writes Wood. “He plays the host, the master of ceremonies, the showman who is center stage yet never the star.”
Among several pieces by the artist discussed in the article is I am an employee of UNITED Vol. 2, which involved long elastic bands attached to three mannequins and small paintings, which were held by Arakawa and his fellow performers who ran back and forth creating a web of connections between the work’s elements and the gallery space.
Wood also notes that Arakawa’s “work continually negotiates his split sense of belonging between America and Japan” and points out that, while he revisits experimental art that has come before him, “Arakawa appears to be enacting a model of the self that cannot stand alone, one irrevocably tied to new forms of collectivity. And this multiplicity includes not only human subjects but inanimate objects; sculptures, paintings, found materials, architectural infrastructure, data, perfume bottles, ceiling fans, frequent-flyer miles.”