October 27, 2015

A Girl Called Jonny. Insitu, Jerry Saltz, Sex and Money

Jonny at insitu

Insitu is one of my favourite art places in town, and even the way to get there is fun. Sometimes I come from the left and then I pass my favourite park in town, Gleisdreieckpark, and if the weather is nice, I’ll buy a drink at this cute coffee shack in the Schräbergarten. If I come from the right, which is Potsdamer Straße, then I go to Rossmann because I love drugstores (remember the toilet paper?). Drugstores are comforting places to me - all these rows of wellness products, inviting you to pick the right bottle with the most attractive design for the most promising result. When visiting insitu, I tend to go for the food section, and pick a Capri-Sun (such a great name for a drink) and some spiced nuts. The nuts were out last Thursday and I took an oatmeal cookie instead. So there I was, strolling Kurfürstenstraße while happily sucking the straw of my Capri-Sun and nibbling my cookie. Upon arriving I had to wait a few seconds before entering, since I didn’t want to make my entrance as cookie monster, and the oatmeal stuff was sticking to my teeth. Sorry for the nasty details, but it’s important to understand that especially in the case of insitu, you can’t enter with things stuck to or in between your teeth. You see, there are stairs to enter the exhibition space of insitu, and, unlike most art spaces, you have to descend those stairs, not climb them. There was a reason why Marcel Duchamp painted his nude descending the stairs, you know. It feels different when going upstairs, I guess because it’s harder work to go up and you’re inevitably reminded of your bodily failures. I once had a job interview 5 floors up without elevator, and upon arriving I joked that they could see I’m fit for the job. (Let me just say that I didn’t get that job.) Going downstairs, on the other hand, is really easy and it makes you feel light and high. It is bound to give you a feeling of “showtime!”, in particular when there are people watching you while descending those stairs.

Anyway, I descended the insitu stairs last Thursday to see the exhibition Jonny. That night it was particularly exciting because the space was made dark and had a mirroring ceiling. On the subway I had been reading Grace Jones’ memoirs intensively, so insitu made me feel as if I had arrived in a nightclub and some stars were about to shine. Small screens  all over the place displayed sensual images. Yet let me say up front that I didn't get further than this first impression. I was busy talking to the insitu team, and then suddenly it was full house. I found an empty bench in the back, where the headphones were tuned in on the song A Girl Called Jonny: “She is my narcotic lollipop (I put my fingers in his mouth).” A friend of mine had told me the day before that I should write more sexy and erotic art reviews (“that-doesn't-or-does-make-me-wet” kind of reviews, so he suggested). Sex sells, of course. Listening to A Girl Called Jonny I got the luminous idea that I could be the female equivalent of New York Times art critic Jerry Saltz who has this erotic art Instagram going on. As always, I was not able to keep the great idea to myself so I started talking to the man sitting next to me, who turned out to be the artist Ulrich Vogl. It was very funny because Ulrich Vogl then told me he had been a student of Jerry Saltz himself! I love it when I almost meet my art stars (so much better than meeting them in person - now I could get all the gossip)!  Ulrich Vogl told me that while studying in New York, he got weekly half hours of tête à tête with Jerry Saltz. Saltz encouraged artists to write (he himself being a former painter), and to do so in a generous way, observing what others were able to reach and where oneself lacked behind. Saltz also told him to adapt the style of your art review to the style of the exhibition. If it’s a sensual exhibition, your should be writing about it in a sensual way. Exactly my point!  

So why am I talking so much about writing this sensual art review about insitu’s newest exhibition Jonny, instead of just writing it, you’ll ask. Well, you heard about the power of anticipation, didn’t you? I’m just warming you up, my dear reader. More will follow very soon... In the meantime, here is the VLOG interview I did with the amazing insitu team - check it out! We're not talking about sex, but about another very interesting topic: money! If you get 30.000 Euros, what are you gonna do with it?

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