murph the surf on Mon, 23 Mar 1998 18:46:32 +0100 (MET)

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<nettime> Parasite Group at The Drawing Center

[Contact info for Parasite is available from <>. --TB]

Over the weekend I happened to stop in at the "Drawing Room," which is a
project space run by The Drawing Center in New York and found an exhibition
put on by a group called "Parasite." The group describes itself in a
handout as:

" artist-run organization formed to support, document, and present
project-based art work. As a secondary (or para) site for projects
undertaken at other locations, Parasite aims to develop a discursive
context through activities within occupied 'host' organizations."

The exhibit was of Mel Bochner's "Working Drawings and Other Visible Things
on Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As Art, 1966," and consisted of
four binders of xeroxed copies of working drawings by artists and other
material. The binders were placed on white wooden pedestals for visitors to

The handout reprints an essay by James Meyer about the original 1996
exhibition held at the School of Visual Arts Gallery and a short interview
with Bochner by some of the members of Parasite held in February, 1998
(Dennis Balk, Andrea Fraser, Renee Green, Ben Kinmot, Christiain Marclay
and Florian Zeyfang).

The sparseness of the exhibit and what seemed to be a deliberatly
user-unfriendly method of exhibiting the copies of drawings was both
alienating and, at least for this artist, intriguing. It was a working
space for working drawings and I'm sorry I didn't spend more time going
through them (it has since closed). Upon reading the handout when I got
home I found this rationale by member Renee Green in the interview:

"Taking over spaces to present what we're interested in is especially
important in terms of the roles assigned to artists, curators and critics
-- roles that tend to become hierarchized. It's a way of taking back some
power. But it's also about considering how ideas can circulate and what
that circulation means. Can they circulate without being mastered by
someone who's claiming the right to own them? What we're trying to do is
create a more open, discursive situation."

And by Ben Kinmot:

"...I believe that the piece does relocate value, or at least interest and
attention. And that relates to why Parasite is developing a document
collection: to present things that galleries can't sell and museums don't
show because people don't have the attention span to look at them."

Mel Bochner said he was touched that other artists wanted to show it and
that counted more for him than if an institution wanted to show it.

This small exhibition, easily ignored and misunderstood, keeps resonating
for me as an artist as a kind of manifestation of "". I could even
say I found it while "browsing" the streets of Soho because Parasite
"uploaded" it to The Drawing Center site but I'm trying to keep away from
that kind of metaphor. Still, this exhibit and some others I've seen lately
point to the fact that new technologies may be recasting all art and its
presentation for us and that rather than media to work in or tools to work
with these technologies will have broader implications we have only begun
to notice if only because they make the artist networks that have always
existed more accessible and functional.

There's no contact information for the group on the handout but they are
funded by the Peter Norton Family Foundation, the MICA Foundation, and it's
participants. Art Matters, Inc. serves as Parasite's non-profit fiscal

426 Broome Street, NYC 10013  212-925-1885
<i> i o l a </i>

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