Pleasure Principles

April 10, 2009

Tuning into the news these days can be an extraordinarily unpleasant experience: stock-market woes, job losses, political tensions…all topics that go straight for the cold discomfort of rationality and numbers. Alumnus Dan Halm (MFA 2001 Illustration as Visual Essay; BFA 1994 Illustration) has curated a new exhibition that marches in the opposite direction, looking only for sensory pleasures and bodily delights. “The Pleasure Seekers” brings together work from a dozen artists—including Baishian Bai (MFA 2008 Fine Arts), Michael Bilsborough (MFA 2006 Illustration as Visual Essay), Eric Doeringer (faculty), Karlos Carcamo (BFA 1997 Fine Arts) and Cesar Chavez Lechowick (MFA 2007 Photography, Video and Related Media)—who are focused squarely on what makes life enjoyable.

The exhibition is on view at Chashama, 112 West 44th Street, through April 25. Halm spoke to the Briefs about putting together a show with such a particular point of view:

As a curator, do you typically use your personal taste to choose artists and artworks, or are there other approaches/concerns at play?
You can’t escape one’s personal taste. However, since I curate thematically, I always look for the best work for the show while trying to leave my personal tastes at the door. For me, shows begin with a concept, the work of one individual and/or work that inspires and intrigues me, and then I look for work to fit those elements.

How did the “Pleasure Seekers” concept come together?
For me the concept was a response to what was happening around me and the world in general. Giving into one’s own desires without the stigma that can cripple one’s own self is an important factor for my own life. I also never want to curate a show that I am personally not interested in the subject or interested in spending months, if not years, exploring.

Does the exhibition differentiate between images that are about pleasure and images that are pleasurable to view?
I think there are images about pleasure, and I wanted the whole experience to be as pleasurable for the viewer as possible. The variety of work, with drawing, video, sculpture, collage and photography, adds an element of having something for everyone.

Images: (top) Eric Doeringer, Untitled (Red + Yellow), 2000; (bottom) Cesar Chavez Lechowick, Buddy Booth #9, 2005.

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