Read my new fine art exhibition review of “Balancing Act: The User-Friendly Industriart of Marman and Borins at Cristin Tierney Gallery in NYC” in the August 2023 issue of the Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art. Click on the link here:
Cristin Tierney Gallery
219 Bowery, Ground Floor
New York, NY 10002
By Stephen Wozniak
“The Industrial Revolution has two phases: one material, the other social; one concerning the making of things, the other concerning the making of men.”
― Charles A. Beard, political scientist and historian
Visible from the street in the ground floor gallery space – like prismatic fish in a floor-to-ceiling aquarium – Marman and Borins’ extra-large classic arcade game is arresting, friendly, and dare I say, beautiful, even. It’s not like the crass flashy casino crane games that vaguely tempt us with plush stuffed animals or Swiss watch prizes, but instead offers gallery goers the opportunity to build “endlessly reconfigurable” compositions from basic forms. Audience intention and participation are key components to this effort. It effectively gives them fundamental control to create and build rather than accept consumer narratives spun by corporate leaders who simply want to sell stuff. To me, that’s huge. And it’s done in such a playful, inviting, spoonful-of-sugar manner that those lessons go down and are learned easily in experience.
Games and gaming provide a protected place for millions around the globe today. Participants can enjoy their competitive electronic sphere in a way that they cannot manage their messy complex lives. They get to press the reset button so that “no loss is permanent.” And while the act of play is critical to our connection and development as humans, the obsession with its fantasy and escape hatch value has torn us asunder. The work in Balancing Act, on the other hand, accomplishes a type of enjoyable here-and-now engagement – and even risk – with what were once perceived as merely “viewers” in art institutions but, to me, are now both audiences and authors in their own right, as they’ve always been but couldn’t see.
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